World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns
“The door is closing. I am very worried –
if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy,
we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety].
The door will be closed forever.”
Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA)
- Economists can really get things wrong, but when one tied to the energy industry dares to say this, it’s time to sit up and listen! - Editor
The world is likely to build so many new fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be “lost for ever”, according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
Carbon dioxide, once released into the atmosphere, stays there and continues to have a warming effect for about a century. Yet, despite intensifying warnings from scientists over the past two decades, the new infrastructure even now being built is constructed along the same lines as the old, which means that there is a “lock-in” effect – high-carbon infrastructure built today or in the next five years will contribute as much to the stock of emissions in the atmosphere as previous generations.