International Energy Agency: Progress toward low-carbon energy ‘stalled’

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The Paris-based IEA’s conclusion is based on their newly launched “Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index,” which looks at how much carbon dioxide is produced per unit of energy worldwide.

The amount “barely” fell over the last two decades and “shows no recent improvement,” according to the IEA, a multinational organization whose membership includes the United States.

Green energy development has increased sharply worldwide, and in the U.S., the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas-emitter, growth in natural gas-fired power at coal’s expense has helped curb carbon emissions.

But globally, generation from coal – the most carbon-heavy power source – grew roughly six percent from 2010-2012, the IEA said, noting heavy coal use in China and elsewhere.

From the report:

The dependence on coal for economic growth is particularly strong in emerging economies. This represents a fundamental threat to a low-carbon future. China and, to a lesser extent India, continue to play a key role in driving demand growth. China’s coal consumption represented 46% of global coal demand in 2011; India’s share was 11%. In 2011 coal plants with a capacity of 55 GW were installed in China, more than Turkey’s total installed capacity.

It also notes that coal use in Europe has expanded recently. Overall, worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise.

The IEA’s conclusions come in a report to the global Clean Energy Ministerial taking place in India.

The report sounds hopeful notes about the ongoing growth of renewable energy, but says more is needed.

It contains various recommendations around green energy, including launching use of carbon capture and storage technologies.

“I am particularly worried about the lack of progress in developing policies to drive carbon capture and storage (CCS) deployment,” van der Hoeven says in the report.

It finds the world is not on track to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius.

“Stark messages emerge: progress has not been fast enough; large market failures are preventing clean energy solutions from being taken up; considerable energy-efficiency potential remains untapped; policies need to better address the energy system as a whole; and energy-related research, development and demonstration need to accelerate,” the report states.

Check out the whole thing here.

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