IEA: technological parochialism hampers climate efforts

Global efforts to tackle climate change are threatened by a lack of collaboration in sharing and developing new technology, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Major economies around the world such as the United States, and European countries are seeking to reach net zero emissions by 2050 to try to limit a rise in global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius, requiring significant changes in energy production, transportation and food production.

“Through international collaboration, we can make the transition quicker, cheaper and easier for everyone,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement with the first Breakthrough Agenda report, released in conjunction with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

“Without this collaboration, the transition to net zero emissions will be much more challenging and could be delayed by decades,” he said.

The report also calls for cross-border power super grids to support international trading in low-carbon power sectors such as wind and solar.

It also says that countries should agree a common date by which all new vehicles should achieve zero emission, such as electric vehicles, suggesting 2035 for cars and vans and 2040 for heavy duty vehicles:

“This will send a clear signal to industry and unlock larger economies of scale and faster cost reductions, making the transition more affordable for all countries.”

Countries should also work to increase the production of low-carbon steel to over 100 million tonnes by 2030 from less than 1 million tonnes today, it says.

The report was requested by world leaders at last year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow to help align actions and scale up investment in technology in five major sectors – power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture – that account for around 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions.