UN Climate Goals Possible With Efficiency Measures, IEA Says

Improving energy efficiency is among four policies that the International Energy Agency said can help achieve emissions cuts needed to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The measures would reduce energy-industry emissions by about 3.1 billion metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent compared with a business-as-usual scenario, the Paris-based adviser to 28 developed nations said in an e-mailed report. The reduction is about 80 percent of what’s needed by the end of the decade to meet the United Nations goal of keeping global temperatures within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.

The report shows “the path we are currently on is more likely to result in a temperature increase of between 3.6 degrees Celsius and 5.3 degrees Celsius but also finds that much more can be done to tackle energy-sector emissions without jeopardizing economic growth,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement.

The IEA’s policies include improving energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport; cutting construction and use of the least-efficient coal plants; minimizing methane emissions from oil and natural gas production and accelerating the phase-out of some fossil-fuel consumption subsidies.

UN envoys have been meeting in Bonn since last week to work on a post-2020 climate agreement they want to seal by 2015. Delaying emission-reduction policies would be costly, and putting off $1.5 trillion in low-carbon investments before the end of the decade would require $5 trillion in additional spending to get back on track after 2020, the IEA said.

Global energy industry-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 rose 1.4 percent in 2012 to a record 31.6 billion tons, according to the IEA’s report called Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map. In the U.S., carbon output fell by 200 million tons amid a switch to gas from coal for power generation. China had the biggest increase with 300 million tons, though the pace of growth was the lowest for the country in a decade, the IEA said.

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