IEA says extra $44 tn needed for clean energy future

May 12, 2014
In a photo taken on May 9, 2014, a South Korean woman stands before the Seoul city skyline at dusk

The global cost of securing a clean energy future is rising by the year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Monday, estimating that an additional $44 trillion of investment was needed to meet 2050 carbon reduction targets.

Releasing its biennial "Energy Technology Perspectives" report in Seoul, the agency said electricity would increasingly power the world's economies in the decades to come, rivalling oil as the dominant energy carrier.

Surging posed serious challenges, said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven.

"We must get it right, but we're on the wrong path at the moment," Van der Hoeven told reporters in the South Korean capital.

"Growing use of coal globally is overshadowing progress in renewable energy deployment, and the emissions intensity of the electricity system has not changed in 20 years despite some progress in some regions.

"A radical change of course at the global level is long overdue," she said.

Such a change would, however, be expensive, and the IEA stressed the importance of governments minimising investment risks in the energy sector so as to encourage institutional funding.

International Energy Agency executive director Maria van der Hoeven (C) speaks during a press conference in Seoul on May 12, 2014

The agency said an additional $44 trillion in investment was needed to secure a " future" by 2050, compared to the $36 trillion it had estimated in its 2012 report.

"The increase partly shows something the IEA has said for some time: the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes to transform our energy system," Van der Hoeven said.

While the deployment of in emerging economies has rallied over the past year—making up for declines in the industrialised world—the overall picture remains bleak, according to the report's lead author David Elzinga.

"We are not making the technical progress needed to bring down the cost yet," Elzinga said.

Attracting capital investment will be crucial to financing the transition to a clean system, the report said, but high capital costs meant investors would need support "to alleviate their exposure to a shift in risk profiles".

It also pointed out that the $44 trillion figure would be more than offset by an estimated $115 trillion in resulting fuel savings.

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Caliban
5 / 5 (2) May 12, 2014
"The increase partly shows something the IEA has said for some time: the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes to transform our energy system," Van der Hoeven said.

Truer words have never been spoken.
aksdad
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2014
Interestingly, in the bio for Ms. Van der Hoeven it says that she is "a fierce supporter of market principles." Apparently being a supporter and understanding how the market works are two different things.

There is no need for a $44 trillion investment to secure a "clean energy future" by 2050. In unfettered free markets companies tend to use resources more efficiently over time because competition forces them to. That's what's happening right now and the reason why, for example, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined over the last 5 years with no government regulation of CO2. (And ironically, the U.S., which didn't sign the Kyoto Protocol, is on track to meet Kyoto targets, while none of the signatory countries are.)

Pollution and other emissions will eventually decline in other countries like China and India too if they allow free market forces to work properly.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2014
No problem.
Just add $44,000,000.000.000.00 to the computer and the money appears.
That's the 'liberal' way to do it.
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) May 12, 2014
No problem.
Just add $44,000,000.000.000.00 to the computer and the money appears.
That's the 'liberal' way to do it.


Better hope the Socialist Redistributionist don't do it first, then rygsuckn'.

30 trillion(a conservative estimate)USD parked in offshore accounts to avoid taxes, just sitting there, ripe for the taking...

I laugh when I think of the months --maybe years-- of nightmares this idea will cause you.

Just sitting there...

rockwolf1000
not rated yet May 13, 2014
@askdad

That's what's happening right now and the reason why, for example, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined over the last 5 years with no government regulation of CO2."

And because manufacturing has declined.