IEA says additional $44 trillion needed for clean energy future

The global cost of securing a clean energy future is rising by the year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Monday, estimating that an additional USD 44 trillion of investment was needed to meet 2050 carbon reduction targets. Releasing its biennial ‘Energy Technology Perspectives’ report in Seoul, the agency said electricity would increasingly power the world’s economies in the decades to come, rivalling oil as the dominant energy carrier.

Surging electricity demand posed serious challenges, said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven. ‘Growing use of coal globally is overshadowing progress in renewable energy deployment, and the emissions intensity of the electricity system has not changed in 20 years despite some progress in some regions,’ Van der Hoeven told reporters in the South Korean capital. Such a change would, however, be expensive, and the IEA stressed the importance of governments minimising investment risks in the energy sector so as to encourage institutional funding. The agency said an additional USD 44 trillion in investment was needed to secure a ‘clean-energy future’ by 2050, compared to the USD 36 trillion it had estimated in its 2012 report.

‘The increase partly shows something the IEA has said for some time: the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes to transform our energy system,’ Van der Hoeven said. Attracting capital investment will be crucial to financing the transition to a clean energy system, the report said.
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