IEA Says Action Needed To Sustainably Enhance Energy Security and Avert Climate Change

International Energy Agency Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven recently called on countries to step up efforts to avert climate change, noting that to do so requires addressing their energy security concerns in a sustainable manner. Describing the limited progress that is expected at UN climate talks here as a "cause for concern," Ms. Van der Hoeven urged countries not to wait for a comprehensive deal on climate but rather to act now to meet growing demand for energy with secure, low-carbon solutions.

The IEA’s annual World Energy Outlook, released in November, sent a stark message to the participants at the COP 17 climate negotiations in Durban by concluding that the world is locking itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system. If bold policy actions are not put in place over the next several years, it will become increasingly difficult and costly to meet the goal set at last year’s talks of limiting a global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

"The door to achieving our objectives is rapidly closing, and while I strongly urge an agreement on emissions, I have a simple message for the participants in these talks: Don’t wait for a global deal. Act now. You can and should implement robust policies that will give your citizens affordable, reliable access to energy in a sustainable way," Ms. Van der Hoeven told a press conference at the talks being held here.

The IEA Executive Director noted that the IEA has identified many policy tools that countries can use to both enhance their energy security and reduce carbon emissions. Such tools include:

  • Standards on energy-using equipment such as cars or electric appliances
  • Cost-effective measures to deploy renewables, with care given to their impact on security of supply and
  • A price on carbon, including through tradable CO2 emissions quotas, used in the EU and Australia, and actively being promoted in China and elsewhere

Ms. Van der Hoeven also said that while industrialised nations have already pledged USD $100 billion for low-carbon investments in emerging economies, financing remains a key challenge. But the big emerging economies – the so-called BRICs that include Brazil, Russia, India and China – can and should implement sound policies that tap domestic funding sources and direct them to low-carbon investments that promote energy security. The IEA can help governments in this area. On a related issue, she noted that achieving universal access to modern energy services would have huge economic, social and health benefits without significantly affecting CO2 emissions globally. IEA member countries are actively supporting efforts towards broader energy access.

Finally, she noted that while the focus has been for years on how energy will affect climate, it is time to begin studying how changes in climate will affect energy systems and, by extension, energy security.

Download Center

  • Monitoring and Reporting on Air Emissions for Regulators and the Real World

    When it comes to managing compliance and regulatory issues surrounding air emissions, there are no easy jobs. With interviews from practitioners from American Electric Power, Red Cedar Gathering, Trinity Consultants, and Cority, this eBook provides practical advice to advance your air emissions monitoring and reporting programs.

  • What Every EHS Professional Should Know About ESG

    Join experts from Arcadis and Cority on April 27th to learn the most common ESG reporting frameworks and how technology can help you improve reporting efficiency, identify areas for improvement, and create defensible audit trails.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Read the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get an unbiased comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • RFP Template for Waste Management Software

    Learn the essential questions to ask when evaluating waste management software solutions with this free, ready-to-use RFP template

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

Featured Webinar