We are not just missing the targets of the Paris agreement, we are increasing our emissions

This is a brief summary of an article by TIM COLEBATCH entitled We’re way off course for Paris, says World Energy Outlook

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that energy policy is way off course around the world. At the Paris climate conference, governments committed to reducing emissions to try to hold the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. Four years later, global emissions are increasing — and if nations’ energy policies are any guide, they will end up driving temperatures far above the Paris goal.

The IEA’s annual flagship review, World Energy Outlook 2019, puts it bluntly. On current policies, the world is on track for a “relentless upward march in energy-related emissions, as well as growing strains on almost all aspects of energy security.” Even governments’ stated policies, including promised changes in future, would merely slow that growth a little, leaving the world far short of meeting its goals in 2040.

The key messages from the Outlook:

 1 On governments’ stated policies, energy use will continue rising by 1 per cent a year for the next two decades.

2 Global emissions from energy use fell earlier in the decade, but rebounded in 2017 and 2018

3The two biggest influences on future emissions are developing Asia — where coal, gas and solar will battle for market dominance over the next twenty years — and Africa

4 Currently the second-biggest source of growth in global emissions is the replacement of cars by SUVs.In Australia and the United States, 60 per cent of non-commercial vehicle sales are SUVs 

5 The pace of gains in energy efficiency is slowing.

 6 The cheapest sources of new power vary widely from country to country. The IEA estimates that solar is now the cheapest option in India, and gas in the United States (thanks to the shale industry) and Europe, but that coal remains the cheapest energy source in China. 

7 The Outlook highlights the massive potential emission reductions from developing offshore wind resources, especially in Europe

But achieving gains in energy efficiency can also be politically difficult, as we saw in the May election, when the Coalition saw political advantage in campaigning against the widespread use of electric vehicles — and got away with it.

Indeed, with the country’s annual emissions from energy use having risen by 34.6 million tonnes or 8.5 per cent in the five years since the Coalition axed the carbon tax, there is no evidence that the government seriously intends to reduce carbon emissions full stop.

The outlook for Australian gas is seriously worrying. In case you’ve yawned through this saga, the Rudd government in 2010 gave the three gas exporters permission to export (and hence, make contracts for) gas they did not have.

The exporters had to buy the extra gas from the domestic market. That drove up gas prices, massively, and because of the swing role gas played in the national electricity market, electricity prices went up with them. It was one of the worst policy disasters Australia has seen.

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