World Fails Clean Energy Report Card

A newly released report by the International Energy Agency hands out dismal grades to the nations of the world for their efforts in developing clean energy technologies. Brad Plumer shares the results.

The annual report [PDF], which tracks progress in heading off global warming before it reaches the generally agreed-upon 2°C global temperature rise threshold, analyzes efforts to transition to clean energy in several key areas: cleaning up coal plants, growing nuclear power and renewables, improving fuel economy, and increasing the efficiency of buildings.

According to Plumer, "Right now, however, only renewables are pulling their weight. The IEA says the main problem is that most countries don't have stable, reliable policies to promote these clean-energy technologies. They recommend the usual batch of solutions - a price on fossil fuels, new standards for energy efficiency, and more money for research and development."

"All told, the IEA estimates, meeting that 2°C target would require $5 trillion in energy investments between now and 2020. That, in turn, would save $4 trillion in fossil fuel costs. And, over the next 40 years, the benefits from energy savings and reduced emissions would keep growing and eventually outweigh the costs."

Full Story: How’s the world doing on its climate goals? Not so well.

Comments

Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

IEA: Pro-nuclear on energy

Is this not controversial?

"Nuclear power. The IEA has estimated that the world’s nuclear power capacity needs to nearly double by 2025 to help meet climate targets. Right now, nuclear capacity is actually shrinking. Countries like Germany, Japan, Belgium and Switzerland are planning on phasing out their reactors in the next decade. While many countries are still building reactors — China alone has 26 in the works, and Russia has 10 — the IEA expects the world to miss its nuclear goals."

With Japan and Germany closing their nukes - in fact, today was an historic day in Japan to that effect, (BBC: Tomari shutdown leaves Japan without nuclear power) resulting in increased carbon emissions, one can't help but think that IEA must not be happy about this development. With the developed world split between forsaking nuclear and disregarding climate change (you know who!), how can we expect the developing world to curb their emissions?

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Nuclear and Climate

Germany is shutting down its nuclear power and is also moving more quickly than any other nation to make its electricity carbon-free. That seems to indicate that it is possible to shift to clean energy without building more nuclear.

Many argue that nuclear is so much more expensive than wind and solar that it would slow down the transition to carbon-free energy.

(PS: I think it is more important to reduce co2 emissions than to close nuclear power plants, so I would not shut down existing nuclear power plants, as Germany plans to do, except for the most dangerous, such as Indian Point.)

Charles Siegel

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