How warm will it get?

Reports from the International Energy Agency (IEA) rarely make for comforting reading and the latest Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map is no exception. Maybe it is because the IEA appears to be staffed by hard headed economists rather than environmentalists that its restatement of global warming projections seems so stark.  At the launch of the report IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven IEA Executive Director said that we are currently on path ‘for a temperature increase of between 3.6 °C and 5.3 °C’ , a huge increase and one that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.  The projection is based on the continued growth in emissions of carbon dioxide from burning oil, coal and gas, a growth that is increasingly from non OECD countries.


THE IEA calls for radical action to limit the increase in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius, including much tighter standards of energy insulation in buildings, an end to inefficient coal burning power stations and expansion of alternatives like renewables and  nuclear.  The conclusions and policy recommendations will be unwelcome to many on both sides of the debate but the scale of global warming that the IEA energy economists forecast suggests that we may have to look at some unpalatable solutions if we are to have any chance of limiting unacceptable global warming .

Adrian Shaw, July 2013