Industrial nations are tasked with creating a comprehensive carbon emission plan by 2020 to avert ever-increasing rates of global warning. But the International Energy Agency warns that waiting until 2020 will result in dangerously high temperatures, and offers four solutions that could be enacted much earlier.
The proposed 2020 agreement is designed to keep global average temperatures no more than 2° Celsius above pre-industrial global averages. However, the IEA warns that current practices will propel temperatures to more than 3.6° to 5° Celsius by 2100. The world already is 0.8° Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, and we’re already starting to see signs, such as Arctic ice melts, more severe storms, and more frequent flooding (like the spring floods in Budapest, Hungary, pictured).
In its report issued on Tuesday, Re-Drawing the Energy-Climate Map, the IEA recommends these more immediate solutions:
• Make buildings, factories, and transportation more energy efficient.
• Reduce the building and use of coal-fired power plants that are inefficient.
• Work to cut in half the release of methane (a potent greenhouse gas, even more so than carbon dioxide) from the oil and gas industry.
• Begin reducing and eliminating government subsidies for fossil-fuel consumption (subsidies totaled $523 billion in 2011).
The IEA, which is calling for an eight percent reduction in emissions, says that just following the first recommendation (making our lives more energy efficient) would produce half of that eight percent goal.
Sources: National Geographic Society, IEA
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