IEA and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Warn Against Risk of Failing to Reach the 2º Target

30 May 2011: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released estimates showing that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from world energy generation reached record levels in 2010, and that 80% of projected 2020 emissions from the power sector are already locked in, in the form of existing power plants or those under construction.

Fatih Birol, IEA Chief Economist, commented that, together, these “represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2°C,” adding that “unless bold and decisive decisions are made very soon, it will be extremely challenging to succeed in achieving this global goal agreed in Cancun.”

Commenting on these estimates, Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, stated that they constitute "a stark warning to governments to provide strong new progress this year towards global solutions to climate change." She called on governments to "push the world further down the right track to avoid dangerous climate change," and outlined two main challenges for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, at the end of the year, namely: to strengthen the international conditions that will allow countries to work together to make deeper global emission cuts, including agreement on the future of the Kyoto Protocol; and to agree on the designs of the new climate institutions that will provide adequate and efficient climate support to developing countries, including the Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism and establishing the Adaptation Committee. [IEA Press Release] [UNFCCC Press Release]