The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released the results of some number crunching which reveals we will fall short of climate goals set by the UN last year. At a conference in Cancun “it was agreed that cutting emissions sufficiently to limit the world’s temperature increase to 2°C would require a far‑reaching transformation of the global energy system;” the target year of 2020 was set as the time at which a 2 degree shift would be acceptable by.
Last year, the world pumped out 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 emissions. To reach the 2020 goal of an increase of no more than 2 degrees, emissions would have to be at no more than 32 Gt a year; hitting this mark means that co2 emissions will have to increase slower in the next ten years than they have in the single year of 2009-2010.
Fast-developing countries like China and India saw a much larger increase in emissions per year than did already developed counties like the US — with coal contributing to the largest percentage of the total CO2, followed by oil and then by natural gas.
IEA’s report underscores that “the challenge of improving and maintaining quality of life for people in all countries while limiting CO2 emissions has never been greater.” Although hitting the 2 degree mark seems unlikely, this “wake-up call” should hopefully stir the pot when it comes to new, viable ideas to curb emissions, as well as recruit more people to making any wiser choices they can, no matter how seemingly insignificant.