The International Energy Agency on Thursday issued an alert due to the “critical need” for rapid acceleration of innovation in clean energy. This is because climate targets set by governments and corporations around the world depend on technologies that have not yet hit the market.
“The message is very clear: in the absence of much faster innovation in terms of clean energy, achieving net-zero targets in 2050 will be over, but also impossible,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement.
Most parts of the world economy do not yet have clean energy options. Electric power companies are throwing coal in favor of increasingly affordable solar and wind farms. And all major car manufacturers are racing to develop the best electric vehicles to compete with Tesla.
However, there are few technologies available that reduce emissions to zero in areas such as shipping, transportation and aviation, the IEA said. The same problem exists in heavy industries like steel, cement and chemicals.
“The decarbonisation of these sectors will greatly require the development of new technologies that are not currently in commercial use,” the report said.
And that’s not scum. It took decades to increase solar panels and batteries to make them economical. A lot of technology has succeeded along the way.
“The weather is in even shorter stock,” the IEA report said.
‘Switch off’ between goals and effort
This does not mean that progress is not being made.
However, the IEA stated that “there are no unique or simple solutions to steer the world on a sustainable path to zero-zero emissions”.
About three-quarters of the cumulative reduction in carbon emissions to achieve that path will have to come from technologies that “have not yet reached full maturity,” the report said.
For example, while battery technology has evolved significantly, the IEA has said that “rapid progress” is needed to move prototype batteries to global long-distance transportation needs.
However, there is not enough money that corporations or the public sector spend on researching next-generation energy solutions.
“There is a difference between the climate goals that governments and companies have set for themselves and the efforts being made to develop better and cheaper technologies to achieve those goals,” said the IEA Birol.
Pandemic jobs affect energy consumption
That disconnect, like many others, is now intensifying the pandemic.
This slowdown in consumption undermines efforts to develop clean energy solutions.
“Failure to accelerate progress now,” the IEA report said, “risking pushing the transition to net-zero emissions further into the future.”