The International Energy Agency is urging governments to make stronger commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions at an upcoming U.N. climate summit, warning the world is not on track to meet environmental goals and that new investment in clean energy was needed to “jolt the energy system onto a new set of rails.”
The Paris-based international organization said Wednesday in its annual world energy outlook that great strides have been made to move away from fossil fuels by relying on more wind and solar energy, while electric vehicles are setting sales records.
But the economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic also has seen an increase in the use of coal and oil, the report said, as well as a leap in emissions. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas that scientists blame for climate change.
The report said the recovery was putting major strains on parts of the energy system, leading to sharp rises in prices for natural gas, coal and electricity as worldwide energy demand is set to regain the ground lost last year during the pandemic.
Electricity demand in particular had come “roaring back" in Asia, leading to a rise in the use of coal-fired plants. Such energy crunches were a prelude of more disruption to come if investment in new sources of energy did not increase, according to the report.
Representatives of more than 200 countries will gather for the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss new targets for cutting or curbing the growth of emissions that contribute to climate change.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.