BusinessDay

Global clean energy spend falls short of climate ambitions

Governments around the world have allocated only a third of what is needed to put the world on course to reach net zero emissions by mid-century, said the International Energy Agency, an indication that spending is not matching intentions.

Proposed spend on clean energy came to $380 billion, which is just 2 percent of stimulus funds due to COVID-19, the report found.

The Paris-based energy think tank is concerned that the global rebound from the pandemic will drive emissions of greenhouse gasses that sparks climate change to an all-time high.

“We estimate that full and timely implementation of the economic recovery measures announced to date would result in CO2 emissions climbing to record levels in 2023, continuing to rise thereafter,” it said.

This pattern of expenses threatens Western countries Net-Zero by 2030 ambition.

Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere achieved through huge declines in the use of coal, oil and gas.

“The sums of money, both public and private, being mobilised worldwide by recovery plans fall well short of what is needed to reach international climate goals,” IEA chief Fatih Birol wrote.

“(Countries) must then go even further by leading clean energy investment and deployment to much greater heights beyond the recovery period in order to shift the world on to a pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050, which is narrow but still achievable – if we act now,” he added.

The IEA issued its starkest findings yet on climate in a May report which said the world should not invest in new fossil fuel projects if it hoped to reach net zero by 2050.

Emissions are set to be 3.5 billion tonnes higher than the threshold needed to reach that goal, the IEA said on Tuesday.

Two thirds of the $380 billion earmarked for clean energy is set to be spent by 2023 and almost all the rest deployed by 2030, making for a rapid decline over the course of the decade with spending in 2030 sagging to less than a twentieth of the figure achieved in 2021.

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