The International Energy Authority seems somehow to appear very little in the news. This prestigious body are suddenly very keen to use their undisputed position to criticise national policies and actions currently slowing the drive for renewable energies. While emerging economies are doing their bit, the classic polluters have not improved their attitude!
Maria van der Hoeven is the executive director of the Authority. According to her, the drive to clean up the world's energy production system has stalled. Ministers from all the 28 members of the IEA were told in no uncertain terms that they are responsible for 80% of greenhouse gases emitted at the moment. For twenty years, we have almost been standing still as improvements have been negated by the increase in pollution by some countries. A new index, the ESCII (Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index) has been introduced.
In 1990 it registered 2.39 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while in 2010, it remained stable at 2.37 tonnes. Temperatures meanwhile "creep higher" according to Maria van der Hoeven. She lays down the law with the heavy statement, "We cannot afford another 20 years of listlessness. We need a rapid expansion in low-carbon energy technologies if we are to avoid a potentially catastrophic warming of the planet, but we must also accelerate the shift away from dirtier fossil fuels."
All very nice, except that while the US, a prime carbon dioxide emitter, switches from coal to shale gas, some European countries switched from methane gas to coal as North Sea gas and other sources dried up or increased in price. Either solution is criminally increasing the carbon debt of these nations and the earth itself. New carbon pricing and the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies must be brought into perspective as the true cost of this form of energy production. The promotion of more electric vehicles and renewable energy subsidies are needed to establish technologies. Only then can we be efficient in our handling of polluters and their products. The 4.1 billion people who live in the so-called Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) nations will have, "the power to set the clean energy transition in motion, and now it is time for them to use it," quotes Ms. van der Hoeven!