Tuesday, March 21, 2017

G20 Report Shows Competing Visions of a Clean Energy Future

The IEA and IRENA issued separate press releases for their joint report, reflecting a gulf in expectations on the relative roles of renewables, nuclear and carbon capture

Adnan Amin's IRENA and Fatih Birol's IEA did not agree on a common (Pic Credit: ETD/Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net) Click to Enlarge.
One report, two press releases.  The world’s leading renewables and energy security analysts sent out mixed messages at a major conference in Berlin on Monday.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlighted the economic benefits of a shift to clean energy.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) emphasized the challenges.  Each cited different emissions, technology and financial figures.

The German government had asked the two agencies to collaborate on a study of the investment needed by 2050 to clean up the energy mix in line with the Paris climate deal.  This would inform discussions at the G20, where the host is keeping climate cooperation on the agenda in the face of renewed US hostility.

“Decarbonization is a huge opportunity for modernizing our economies,” said recently appointed economics and energy minister Brigitte Zypries.

IRENA and the IEA agreed on a carbon budget, the level of emissions consistent with a 66% chance of holding global warming below 2C.  But they disagreed on on methods, assumptions, and priorities – reflected in a refusal to make a joint statement.  “IRENA and the IEA are not best friends for a variety of reasons,” said a source close to the process.

IRENA, with its mandate to promote solar, wind, bioenergy and other clean sources, majored on renewables and energy efficiency.  The IEA, an institution primarily concerned with energy security, favored a “technology neutral” model that spit out large scale nuclear power and carbon capture and storage.

Read more at G20 Report Shows Competing Visions of a Clean Energy Future

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