IEA Releases 2014 Insights on Energy, Climate Change and Environment
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The International Energy Agency (IEA) addresses the interconnections between climate change policies and the global energy sector in its report 'Energy, Climate Change and Environment: 2014 Insights.' The report presents: ways to retire high-emission assets, such as coal plants; important lessons for designing an emissions trading system (ETS); examples of co-managing air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and trends in energy metrics.

IEA10 December 2014: The International Energy Agency (IEA) addresses the interconnections between climate change policies and the global energy sector in its report ‘Energy, Climate Change and Environment: 2014 Insights.’ The report presents: ways to retire high-emission assets, such as coal plants; important lessons for designing an emissions trading system (ETS); examples of co-managing air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and trends in energy metrics.

According to the report, climate change mitigation has to be carefully managed, as energy security and affordability are also important to social and economic development. On “unlocking” infrastructure that supports high-carbon activities, the report notes that shutting down fossil fuel-fired power plants should be accompanied by the installation of plants capable of supplying an equivalent amount of clean power. Policymakers should also be wary of unintended consequences, according to the report, that might trigger fuel-switching to a more emissions-intense fuel.

On ETS design, the IEA notes, among other lessons, that compensating those unable to support a price increase may often be more cost-effective than artificially suppressing the price. The report also advocates for the use of energy-sector specific data and metrics to examine the drivers of GHG emissions and to further inform broader decarbonization strategies.

The report has a special focus on how curbing local air pollution can support other environmental and sustainability goals, especially lowering GHG emissions. It describes approaches being used in China, the US, the EU and Canada and offers insights on where they might lead or how they can be applied elsewhere. Among these approaches are the use of conventional air pollution regulation for GHG emissions in the US and China’s “war on air pollution,” which may produce emissions reduction co-benefits in some regions. [Publication: Energy, Climate Change and Environment: 2014 Insights Executive Summary] [Publication Website]

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