Environmentalists say a study from the International Energy Agency concluding that new fossil fuel investment must cease if the world is to achieve its climate targets sends a clear message to Canada, but industry and government say the target is too lofty.
“We now have a study from the world’s most authoritative energy body that indicates a clear correlation between a climate-safe future and a sharp decline in demand for oil and gas,” the Pembina Institute’s Chris Severson-Baker said.
According to the study, there is a narrow but viable road to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the global energy sector by 2050. By 2030, it calls for a fourfold rise in solar and wind power, as well as a halt to new fossil fuel investments.
After 2035, no new internal combustion engine passenger cars should be sold, according to the Paris-based agency.
Several nations, including Canada and the United States, have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. This assumes that only as much planet-warming gas as could be consumed can be emitted into the atmosphere.
The study outlines 400 actions that can be taken to transform energy production, transportation, and consumption.
The transition, according to Fatih Birol, the energy agency’s executive director, will generate millions of new jobs and boost global economic growth.
However, he expressed concern that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase.
Last month, the EPA predicted that 2021 would see the second-largest annual rise in greenhouse gas emissions since 2010.
The study was deemed impractical by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said her province is already implementing many of the recommendations in the study to reduce its industry’s carbon footprint.
Demand for fossil fuels is expected to rise in the coming years, according to Richard Masson of the University of Calgary.
The study, according to Greenpeace climate campaigner Keith Stewart, is a “death blow” to any belief that Canada will increase production while still meeting its climate goals.