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$45 tril. needed to halve global CO2 emissions by 2050: IEA

Jun 6, 2008 - The Associated Press

The world needs to invest at least an additional $45 trillion through 2050 in technology and its deployment to halve global carbon dioxide emissions by that time from current levels, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

The IEA said the investment target translates into about $1.1 trillion each year, which represents 1.1 percent of average annual global gross domestic product or roughly on par with Italy's current GDP.

In its latest publication, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008, the Paris-based agency highlighted the importance of accelerating efforts to develop and introduce innovative technology to achieve the CO2 reduction goal.

On the back of strong demand for power from China, India and other emerging economies, the IEA said on average each year 25 gas-fired and 35 coal-fired power plants must be equipped with new CO2 capture and storage technology between 2010 and 2050 at a cost of $1.5 billion each.

In addition, the IEA, formed by 27 industrialized countries, estimated that 17,500 wind power turbines and 32 new nuclear power plants will have to be built around the world every year.

The 643-page report was made in response to a request from leaders from the Group of Eight leading economies to provide scenarios on what needs to be done until 2050 to achieve better energy use.

The extensive recommendations and estimates in the report will serve as the basis for discussion July 7-9 at the G-8 summit meeting in Hokkaido, northern Japan. The summit will bring together leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

"This is exactly our response" to the G-8 countries, IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in Tokyo shortly after the release of the publication, which came ahead of this weekend's G-8 energy ministers meeting in the northeastern Japanese city of Aomori.

"We will require immediate policy action and a technological transition on an unprecedented scale," Tanaka, who will also attend the energy meeting, said at the Japan National Press Club.

"It will essentially require a new global energy revolution which would completely transform the way we produce and use energy," he said.

To achieve the 50 percent cut target, the IEA, founded in 1974 in the wake of the first oil crisis, said the deployment of not-fully prevalent technology is required, including 215 million square meters of solar panels and nearly a billion electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.