"For anyone who’s in favor of preventing the planet from heating up, there’s bad news and good news in the latest big report from the International Energy Agency," says Brad Plumer. "First, the somber stuff: Global carbon-dioxide emissions from energy reached a record high in 2012, after rising 1.4 percent over the past year."
However, the IEA "still thinks it’s technically possible for the world to cut emissions by 8 percent by 2020 and stay on track for its declared goal of keeping global warming below 2°C," adds Plumer. As Steven Mufson explains, the report urged global leaders to "implement aggressive energy-efficiency measures; limit the output of inefficient coal plants and mandate that all future coal plants be highly efficient supercritical ones; reduce the release of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) in oil and gas operations; and phase out fossil-fuel subsidies."
"The idea is that these four measures — which don’t require any newfangled or unproven technologies — would buy the world some time while leaders hashed out an international climate treaty and figured out how to make deeper emissions cuts in the future in order to stay under that 2°C mark," says Plumer.