COP21 Climate Pledges Could Slow Growth In Energy-Related Emissions

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New research has shown energy-related emissions could “slow to a relative crawl” by 2030 if countries adhere to their own climate pledges.

This, according to a new special briefing published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which claims that energy-related emissions could drop dramatically if all countries meet their climate pledges, submitted in advance of the upcoming UN climate summit in Paris. These pledges, or Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs), have been streaming in over the past year, as countries prepare to debate and negotiate next month in Paris.

“The fact that over 150 countries – representing 90% of global economic activity and nearly 90% of global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – have submitted pledges to reduce emissions is, in itself, remarkable,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “These pledges, together with the increasing engagement of the energy industry, are helping to build the necessary political momentum around the globe to seal a successful climate agreement in Paris.”

National climate pledges submitted for COP21 and coverage in terms of energy-related CO2 emissions in 2013

Note: The bubbles represent total energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The share of these emissions covered by an INDC (as of mid-October) is shown in green and those that are not in grey.

As can be seen above, the number of countries that have submitted INDCs is impressive. All of North America has submitted INDCs, almost all of Europe, approximately 90% of Africa, two-thirds of Asia, 60% of Latin America, and one-third of the Middle East.

Most interestingly, the World Energy Outlook special briefing finds that if all pledges are met — pledges which take into account energy sector emissions, and include specific targets or actions — then countries which currently account for over half the world’s economic activity will see their energy-related emissions either plateau, or be in decline by 2030.

To fulfill the whole of the national pledges, $13.5 trillion will need to be invested in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies between 2015 and 2030, at an annual average of $840 billion, representing 40% of total energy sector investment. Breaking it down, the IEA believes 60% of total power generation capacity investment will be directed towards renewable energy capacity, at $4.0 trillion — and a third of that being directed specifically toward wind power.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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