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IEA boss delivers reality check on global energy trends

Electric cars and increasing use of renewables not enough: Faith Birol suggests a focus on carbon capture to lower global GHGs.

Thirty years ago, fossil fuels made up 81% of the world’s energy mix. Today, despite hundreds of billions of dollars invested in renewable energy and growth in electric vehicles adoption, it’s still 81%.

That was one of the sobering statistics presented by Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) at the 10th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) forum as reported in this article by JWN.

Birol pointed out that while gains have been made in the use of renewable energy in recent years, their impact on global greenhouse gas emissions has been largely offset by the early retirement of nuclear power plants.

“We are definitely on a dangerous path,” Birol told Business in Vancouver. “Everybody talks about deeper and deeper cuts, but what we see in real life is that the emissions are increasing.”

Birol points out that while there’s been a lot of focus on the adoption of electric cars, just two industries—cement and steel—produce more GHGs than all the cars of the world put together. Birol suggests that more emphasis on CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) is needed for the world to reach climate targets.

The IEA is one of the most cited sources of global energy information, with a focus on providing key insights and real-world solutions to meeting the world’s energy needs while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.