Global carbon emissions are set to rise to record highs in 2023 unless governments around the world do more to channel Covid-19 recovery spending towards green projects, the IEA warns. This is an important message in a year when climate issues will be at the forefront at COP26. Worryingly, the IEA says that only two per cent of US$16tn in recovery spending is earmarked for clean energy investments. Also, it is timely with the European Commission having presented its Fit for 55 package recently. Madeleine Cuff writes on the inews website about the IEA’s warnings.
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Spend more on clean energy or global emissions will hit record high in 2023, warn experts
Global carbon emissions are set to rise to record highs in 2023 unless governments around the world do more to channel Covid-19 recovery spending towards green projects, experts warn.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that only two per cent of $16tn (about £11.7tn) in recovery spending is earmarked for clean energy investments – a finding it said was “very worrying”.
“Since the Covid-19 crisis erupted, many governments may have talked about the importance of building back better for a cleaner future, but many of them are yet to put their money where their mouth is,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.
Scientists warn annual greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by the end of the decade to keep global climate goals within reach and avert dangerous, unstoppable climate change.
But there is little sign countries are making the kind of radical investments in clean energy needed to deliver on those promises. Under current spending plans, the IEA predicts global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are set to climb to record levels in 2023 and continue rising in the following years.
“Despite increased climate ambitions, the amount of economic recovery funds being spent on clean energy is just a small sliver of the total,” Mr Birol said.
Unless things change the target of global net-zero emissions by 2050 would become nigh-on unreachable. Missing this deadline would condemn many low-lying island nations, such as the Maldives, to rising sea levels, scientists say.
It also raises the risk that the Earth’s system would pass a “tipping points”, triggering runaway climate change that will likely prove impossible to stop.