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IEA: Holistic effort needed in renewables

Private sector and governments need better coordination, agency says.

By
Daniel J. Graeber

PARIS, May 4 (UPI) -- More than just U.N. intervention is needed to advance the low-carbon economy needed to meet climate goals, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

An annual report from the IEA, a Western-backed agency based in Paris, said clean energy developments are far short of what's needed to keep the expected increase in global average temperatures in check.

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"Today's annual government spending on energy research and development is estimated to be $17 billion," IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement. "Tripling this level, as we recommend, requires governments and the private sector to work closely together and shift their focus to low-carbon technologies."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year found carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, from the combustion of fossil fuels accounted for 78 percent of the total emissions increase from 1970 to 2010.

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A briefing from the U.S. Energy Department finds electricity consumption in the United States will increase at an average rate of 0.8 percent through 2040. The amount of demand met by renewable resources increases by 5 percent over the same time frame.

European member states account for about 11 percent of the global emissions. Combined, EU members last year used renewable energy for 15 percent of their energy needs, up about half from 2004, the first full year for which data are available.

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Van der Hoeven said it will require more than negotiations through U.N.-backed panels like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to usher a new era for renewable energy development and decreased emissions.

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"The shale gas and shale oil boom of the last few years was virtually unthinkable at the dawn of this century," she added. "If we only stick to the beaten path of today, we will miss the game-changers of tomorrow."

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