Ahead of COP26, IEA's annual flagship publication World Energy Outlook 2021 (WEO-2021) illustrates how important it is for governments to send a signal of clean energy ambition and action to accelerate the transition. Despite the new energy economy the report is mentioning to be emerging around the world with solar, wind, electric vehicles and other low-carbon technologies, it is demonstrated that this clean energy progress is still far too slow to achieve the net-zero goal.
This year, WEO-2021 is designed as a handbook for the COP26 in Glasgow, which offers a critical opportunity to accelerate climate action and the clean energy transition. The new analysis delivers blunt warnings about the direction in which today’s policy settings are taking the world and a clear-headed analysis of how to move in a well-managed way towards a pathway limiting global warming to 1.5 °C and avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Some of the key takeaways from the report include that despite major deployments of solar and wind, the global consumption of coal is growing strongly this year, pushing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions towards their second-largest annual increase in history and that investments in clean energy transitions are insufficient to meet future needs in a sustainable way. According to the analysis, extra investment to reach net-zero by 2050 is less difficult than it is expected to be: "More than 40% of the required emissions reductions would come from measures that pay for themselves, such as improving efficiency, limiting gas leakage, or installing wind or solar in places where they are now the most competitive electricity generation technologies."