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Climate change: 1.5 C goal still 'open,' but needs more cash

September 26, 2023

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still possible thanks to a surge in clean energy, the International Energy Agency said, but almost all countries have to accelerate their efforts.

One of the first agro-solar power plants in Croatia being built
The IEA sees progress in the form of record growth in solar power capacity and electric car sales.Image: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/PIXSELL/picture alliance

A record growth in clean energy technology — including solar panels and electric vehicles — is keeping the world's climate targets in reach, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

"The pathway to 1.5 C (2.7 degrees F) has narrowed in the past two years, but clean energy technologies are keeping it open," IEA director Faith Birol said.

The global energy watchdog also added that the world would need to invest close to $4.5 trillion (€4.25 trillion) per year in the transition to cleaner energy from the dawn of the next decade — a hike from the $1.8 trillion that are expected to be spent in 2023.

The latest report is an update to IEA's crucial 2021 "Net-Zero Roadmap," which proposes scenarios to reach net zero emissions by the middle of the century. 

The agency now sees progress in the form of record growth in solar power capacity and electric car sales.

Separate climate from geopolitics, IEA says

The IEA also called on wealthy and developing nations to significantly improve their net-zero targets.

It said that rich countries must now reach carbon neutrality in around 2045 — five years earlier than current plans.

China should speed up by a decade to 2050 to keep to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, the watchdog said.

"The world has already delayed too long to avoid hard choices," it said.

Despite the extreme weather conditions the world witnessed this year, politicians have been lapsing on climate pledges, mindful of the cost-of-living crisis and seeking re-election.

"Governments need to separate climate from geopolitics, given the scale of the challenge at hand," Birol said.

UN Secretary-General: 'Humanity is on thin ice'

dvv/fb (AFP, Reuters)