With power generation still dominated by coal and governments failing to increase investment in clean energy, the target of keeping the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees centigrade (3.6 degrees F) this century is slipping out of reach, the agency said in a report released Wednesday.
"The drive to clean up the world's energy system has stalled," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven told the Clean Energy Ministerial, which brings together ministers representing countries responsible for four-fifths of global greenhouse-gas emissions.
"Despite much talk by world leaders, and despite a boom in renewable energy over the last decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago," she said.
Progress remains alarmingly slow for technologies such as solar photovoltaic and wind power that could save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions consistent with international climate goals, the IEA report said.
"As world temperatures creep higher due to ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide -- two-thirds of which come from the energy sector -- the overall lack of progress should serve as a wake-up call," Van der Hoeven said.