IEA cautions about rebound of post-pandemic emissions
LONDON (UK) – The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Monday warned that global emissions that have been hollowed out by the COVID-19 pandemic are set to rebound in 2021 unless governments take swift policy action.
Emissions of CO2 declined by 7 percent in 2020 to levels last seen a decade ago, agency chief Fatih Birol told reporters, but as the economic damage from the crisis wanes “the early data … confirm our worry that global emissions in 2021 are set to rebound”.
Birol announced that the IEA’s first comprehensive road map for the entire global energy sector to reach net zero emissions by 2050 would be published in May.
Despite the gloomy outlook, the Paris-based watchdog believes that recent pledges by industrialised nations and a change in leadership in Washington mean that major powers could turn the tide in the climate crisis.
“This year can be a pivotal year,” Birol said. “There is a significant new political alignment on climate, which opens up a new world of possibilities for all of us. Many of the largest economies … committed themselves to a net zero target mid-century in the last few months.
“I am certain that the new US administration will join this group of countries.”
US President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate when he assumes office this month.