International Energy Agency (IEA) Says: $500 Billion in Costs for Each Year of Climate Inaction

LONDON, Nov. 10 (UPI) — Each year the world delays implementing a global climate-protection deal will add $500 billion to the costs related to greenhouse gas emissions reductions, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

In its new World Energy Outlook 2010, the Paris-based IEA urged the world’s nations to work together to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius. The framework for such a target will be discussed next month at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, that is aimed at producing a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.


“World leaders gathering in Copenhagen next month … have a historic opportunity to avert the worst effects of climate change,” IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in a statement.

But analysts have warned that a deal might be delayed until 2010 because industrialized and developing nations hold contradictory negotiation positions.

An adviser to 28 developed countries, the IEA in its new WEO urged for a reform of today’s energy system to avoid excessive climate change abatement costs.

“Continuing on today’s energy path, without any change in government policy, would mean rapidly increasing dependence on fossil fuels, with alarming consequences for climate change and energy security,” the report said.

Due to the global downturn, energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions in 2009 are well below previous forecasts, the IEA said.

“But this saving will count for nothing if a robust deal is not reached in Copenhagen — and emissions resume their upward path.”

This would dramatically increase costs linked to global warming.

Starting in 2010, every year’s delay would add another $500 billion to the $10.5 trillion needed between 2010 and 2030 to reduce CO2 emissions in a bid to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees C, a cap scientists say is critical to spare the world from the worst effects of climate change.

“A delay of just a few years would probably render that goal completely out of reach,” the report said. “If this were the case, the additional adaptation costs would be many times this figure. Countries attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference must not lose sight of this.”

If leaders fail to strike an agreement at Copenhagen and in the months beyond, global oil demand by 2030 is expected rise to 105 million barrels a day, the IEA said.

If, on the other hand, leaders strike a deal and boost electric mobility, renewables and energy efficiency, global demand for oil could rise by just 4 million barrels to 89 million barrels a day by 2030, the IEA said.

The IEA also revised its crude demand forecast for demand in 2015 to 88 million barrels a day, down from 94 million barrels a day a year ago. Oil prices will climb to $100 a barrel by 2020 and $115 a barrel by 2030, the IEA added.

A barrel of crude is currently valued at around $79, well below the record $147 it cost in July 2008.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International


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