January 30, 2008
PARIS, France. Renewables are one of the technologies needed to lower carbon emissions, notes a statement from the chief technology officers of major companies around the world.
"Urgent government action is needed to facilitate the development and deployment of advanced energy related technology," concludes a joint statement from the International Energy Agency and technology officers from 30 major companies, such as ABB, Alstom, BP, DuPont, EDF, Enel, Ford Motor, Halliburton, HITACHI, Honda, Hydro-Québec, Iberdrola, Philips, Renault, Royal Dutch Shell, Sharp, Siemens, Total, Toyota Motor and United Technologies. "There is a pressing need to design and implement a range of policy measures that will create clear, predictable, long term economic incentives for carbon reduction in the market."
If the world continues on its current path, global CO2 emissions from energy production and use are likely to increase by 130%, reaching 62,000 Mt per year by 2050.
"More alarming, this outlook for CO2 emissions has steadily increased in recent years," it warns. "Urgent action is needed now. The longer we wait the more difficult the task of mitigating climate change becomes."
Among the technologies and applications that are needed include R&D and large scale deployment of renewable (including solar, wind, hydro and biomass together with energy storage facilities), energy efficient vehicles and appliances, more efficient power plants (including cogeneration technologies), carbon capture & storage, safe nuclear power, advanced heat pump systems, lower transmission and distribution losses, distributed power schemes, and advanced bio-fuels and technologies for low or zero carbon emission vehicles.
"While many of them are already available at a relatively small scale, large investments will be required to enable mass scale substitution for the incumbent energy solutions, both in developed and in developing countries," the statement explains. "These emerging technologies need markets and government based incentives for more rapid development and deployment. Action should start with technologies that are already available at an affordable cost and be progressively implemented bearing in mind the cost-efficiency criteria."
"Technology will play an indispensable role in solving the energy and climate challenges of tomorrow; bringing together the leaders in this field - all of whom are actively deploying energy technologies around the world - will help identify the policies and pathways needed to overcome the obstacles we face today," says IEA head Nobuo Tanaka. IEA expects industry "to take a growing role in delivering a more sustainable energy future, through deployment of new technologies and commercial development."
IEA projects that "substantial de-carbonisation of power supply and very large increases in energy efficiency" will be required by 2050, with an additional investment required of US$18 to US$50 trillion dollars by that time.
"We recognise that many excellent government initiatives are already in place, but their scale is well below what will be needed to meet the challenges at hand," the statement explains. "We call on governments to act now to create the incentives and market conditions, including legal and regulatory frameworks and development of public infrastructure that will enable us to bring these technologies forward."
"We also encourage governments to continue the trend of setting renewable energy technology milestones," and to increase their support for RD&D, to advance basic science, and to work in partnership with industry to create technology roadmaps to clarify future direction and to speed the deployment of early stage technologies, it adds. "We also call on governments to reduce planning, regulatory, trade and other barriers to change in the energy sector. Government action is also needed to increase public awareness, acceptance and understanding of the energy and climate situation and to help the public to better understand their role in combatting climate change."