Net-zero carbon impossible in 2050 without clean energy innovation: IEA

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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IEA International Energy Agency
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A global autonomous intergovernmental organization, International Energy Agency (IEA) said today that a global target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 would not be achieved without a significant acceleration in clean energy innovation.

The Paris Agreement of 2015 had set a target for curbing global warming in the second half of the century and reaching net-zero emissions.

The IEA evaluated more than 400 clean energy technologies in a special report and said that although renewable technologies in operation can now produce significant quantities of emission reductions, they are not adequate on their own.

This found that currently, there are few technologies available in sectors such as transportation, trucking, aviation and heavy industries to reduce emissions to zero.

“Without decarbonising the transport sector there is no chance whatsoever of meeting climate targets,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol told Reuters.

“Around half of emissions reductions that are needed still require major innovation of clean technologies. Whatever we do with renewables will not be enough on their own and it will be all but impossible to meet net-zero by 2050,” he added.

Battery technology, carbon capture and storage, bioenergy and low-carbon hydrogen are the four most important renewable technologies that require advancement, and are currently still in the development process and/or expensive.

Global CO2 emissions are expected to be 8 per cent lower this year than in 2019-their lowest level since 2010-as energy demand has declined due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are likely to rebound as economies recover unless action is taken.

While less funds are likely to be available to put new technologies onto the market right now, economic recovery plans being implemented by a number of countries offer incentives for policymakers to promote developments in renewable energy technology, the IEA concluded.