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IEA report: Global carbon emissions on pace to reach record high in 2023

Under governments’ current recovery spending plans, global carbon dioxide emissions are set to climb to record levels in 2023 and continue rising in the following years, the IEA said Tuesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
"Under governments’ current recovery spending plans, global carbon dioxide emissions are set to climb to record levels in 2023 and continue rising in the following years," the IEA said Tuesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

July 20 (UPI) -- Global carbon emissions are on track to reach an all-time high by 2023 -- while only a fraction of emergency coronavirus funding is being directed at clean energy transitions, according to a report Tuesday by the International Energy Agency.

The IEA report says of about $16 trillion that's been mobilized by governments worldwide for stability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, most has focused on emergency fiscal relief for households and businesses.

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"Governments worldwide are deploying an unprecedented amount of fiscal support aimed at stabilizing and rebuilding their economies, but only about 2% of this spending has been allocated to clean energy measures," the IEA said in a statement.

"Under governments' current recovery spending plans, global carbon dioxide emissions are set to climb to record levels in 2023 and continue rising in the following years.

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"This would leave the world far from the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050 that the IEA set out in its recent Global Roadmap to Net Zero."

"Since the COVID-19 crisis erupted, many governments may have talked about the importance of building back better for a cleaner future, but many of them are yet to put their money where their mouth is," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol also said in a statement.

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The IEA report says governments plan to increase public and private spending on clean energy by $350 billion, which is 35% below the $1 trillion level the agency says is needed, according to its Sustainable Recovery Plan.

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"Despite increased climate ambitions, the amount of economic recovery funds being spent on clean energy is just a small sliver of the total," Birol added. "Governments need to increase spending and policy action rapidly to meet the commitments they made in Paris in 2015."

Birol said advanced economies need to do more to fund clean energy initiatives in the developed world.

"Not only is clean energy investment still far from what's needed to put the world on a path to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century, but it's also not even enough to prevent global emissions from surging to a new record," Birol noted.

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Tuesday's report came ahead of the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Environmental, Climate and Energy in Naples, Italy, on Thursday and Friday. The IEA said its report will help global leaders assess progress of climate policies worldwide.

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