Global CO2 emissions to surge as only 2% is earmarked for clean energy; IEA

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Global carbon emissions are expected to surge as only 2 percent of COVID-19 stimulus measures are set to power energy transition, according to a new analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are expected to reach new highs in 2023 as a result of governments’ current recovery expenditure plans and will continue to rise in the following years. This would leave the world far from the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050 that the IEA set out in its recent Global Roadmap to Net Zero report.

Fatih Birol 
Mr. Fatih Birol 
Executive Director

“Since the Covid-19 crisis erupted, many governments may have talked about the importance of building back better for a cleaner future, but many of them are yet to put their money where their mouth is. Despite increased climate ambitions, the amount of economic recovery funds being spent on clean energy is just a small sliver of the total.”

These findings come from the IEA’s new Sustainable Recovery Tracker, which is launched to assist policymakers in determining how far recovery programs are moving the climate needle. The new online tool is a contribution to the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Environment, Climate, and Energy, which will be held in Naples on the 22nd and 23rd of July under the Italian Presidency.

The Tracker follows government spending on sustainable recovery and predicts how much this spending enhances overall clean energy investment and how this affects global CO2 emissions. In its analysis, the tracker looks at over 800 national sustainable recovery policies.

Over the course of 2020, around $16 trillion in fiscal support was committed globally to help spur GDP. Only 2 percent of which were used for energy transformation.

During the early stages of the pandemic, IEA released the Sustainable Recovery Plan, which suggested investing $1 trillion globally on renewable energy initiatives that might play a key role in recovery strategies. Current government proposals would only increase total public and private clean energy spending to roughly $350 billion per year by 2023, which is only 35 percent of what the Plan calls for.

Related: Carbon emissions will hit record high by 2023; IEA