A report released by a Paris-based agency has stressed on taking immediate action to bring down the net global carbon emissions to zero by 2050. This includes cutting down and potentially ending investments in the fossil fuel sectors like coal mines, gas and oil wells. The report has also mentioned that the actions of governments are not adequate for achieving this goal and bringing down the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius. Supporting the report’s suggestions, theInternational Energy Agency’s executive director, Fatih Birol, has said that this transmutation of the fossil fuel industry would create millions of new jobs and promote global economic growth.
Many countries including the United States, and the European Union have pledged to bring down the carbon emissions. “Every country should start revising its current fuel policies for the practical implementation of the guidelines provided by the IEA. As currently we are in a stage where wasting time is not an option,” said Dr. Sathyabhama Biju, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Delhi University.
The report has advised 400 steps needed to revamp and reconstruct the way energy is produced, transported, used and stored. This includes putting an end to the sale of gasoline based internal combustion passenger cars by 2030, and promoting the use of solar and wind based energy production by 2030.
“India has to work on two shores. One is to bring down energy emissions as soon as possible, which will be very difficult considering the population and demography of the country and the other is promoting and using healthier alternatives of fossil fuels, “ explained Dr. Biju. The report has also suggested that countries like India, China and South Africa should close down most coal power plants by the year 2030. “That’s not at all possible. Because nearly 75% of India’s annual power output is based on coal-fired power plants. Shutting down most of them will not only cause power shortage but also damage the economy,” said Raj Kumar, Senior Advisor, NTPC Ltd.
The report has created a ripple in the global energy sector. While there have been supporters of the advisories, the agency’s proposal has received some valid and sharp criticism. “IEA has advised us to shut down coal-based power plants and gasoline cars, but what about countries like ours which cannot completely rely on solar and wind energy to meet its demands? Also, IEA has not said anything about the poor and under-developing countries which have limited finances and resources for changing their energy sector”, remarked Kumar.
Dave Jones, an analyst at Ember (an energy think tank), has criticised the report saying that it shows a departure from IEA’s previous position and is a “knife in the fossil fuel sector”. The charity Action Aid has cautioned that the reports indirectly hint towards the usage of biofuels made from crops. “Every country won’t be able to implement it. The guidelines need to be more practical for global applications,” concluded Kumar.