IEA: Limiting global warming still possible due to advances in clean energy

The 2023 Net Zero Roadmap calls for stronger international cooperation to limit global warming and warned of additional risk to the planet unless governments stepped up climate efforts between now and 2030. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The International Energy Agency on Tuesday said limiting global warming remains a possibility due to advances in clean energy.

The Paris-based agency released its revised 2023 Net Zero Roadmap which calls for stronger international cooperation to limit global warming and warned of additional risk to the planet unless governments step up climate efforts between now and 2030.

The streamlined climate strategy aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by improving world cooperation on temperature goals set in 2015 under the Paris Climate Agreement -- in which hundreds of nations agreed to limit global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels over the next decade and beyond.

"Keeping alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees requires the world to come together quickly," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. "The good news is we know what we need to do -- and how to do it."

The roadmap, originally published in 2021 as a guidebook for industries and policymakers, was updated this year due to major shifts in the global climate response over the past two years as fossil fuel emissions were showing a downward trend but still driving higher temperatures and more frequent weather disasters in many pockets of the world.

The 1.5 degree Celsius goal was now within reach due to the rapid implementation of clean energy technologies around the world, but many regions were still far behind on making urgent climate improvements, the agency said.

The report pointed to significant growth over the last two years in the solar power and electric vehicle industries, which were on track to reach net zero emissions globally by mid-century, while both sectors had also expanded manufacturing.

The combination of both industries was currently on track to deliver one-third of emissions reductions through 2030 under the agency's renewed climate goals.

The revision was published a day after Nissan announced it would sell only electric vehicles in Europe by 2030 despite British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing last week he would push his nation's goal to ban sales of new non-electric vehicles back to 2035, in line with other nations.

Clean energy innovation has also lowered costs for consumers and businesses seeking to make the jump into clean energy as high-tech expansion was driving about 35% of emissions reductions needed to reach net zero goals by 2050.

Renewable power technology was expected to triple in size by 2030 while energy efficiency improvements could double. At the same time, electric vehicle sales were also expected to surge, which would help reduce methane emissions by as much as 75% before the end of the decade, the agency said.

Birol called on lawmakers to take stronger climate actions based on the latest data and analysis. He implored nations to work together for a common purpose and make continued investments in conservation efforts.

"Strong international cooperation is crucial to success. Governments need to separate climate from geopolitics, given the scale of the challenge at hand."

The roadmap calls for ramping up clean energy capacity, which would reduce fossil fuel demand by 25% before the end of the decade and decrease emissions by 35%.

The report predicts fossil fuel demand will have dropped 80% by 2050, which would severely curb oil and gas projects worldwide.