INVESTMENT in sustainable energy must triple in the next ten years if the target to cut net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050 is to be met, a watchdog has warned.

The International Energy Agency said governments must commit to the rapid scale up of the clean and resilient technologies of the future at next month’s COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow warning the costs of inaction would be immense.

“Today’s climate pledges would result in only 20 per cent of the emissions reductions by 2030 that are necessary to put the world on a path towards net zero by 2050,” said the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol.

HeraldScotland: IEA executive director Fatih Birol Picture: IEAIEA executive director Fatih Birol Picture: IEA

“Reaching that path requires investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure to more than triple over the next decade.”

However, Mr Birol warned: “Some 70% of that additional spending needs to happen in emerging and developing economies, where financing is scarce and capital remains up to seven times more expensive than in advanced economies.”

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The forecasts are contained in the latest edition of the closely-watched World Energy Outlook from the IEA.

The Paris-based organisation said the world is still far from a path that would create a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C and avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

While emissions fell in 2020 amid the pandemic lockdowns, the IEA noted they have shot up this year following the easing of related restrictions.

The agency observed: “Global consumption of coal and oil is growing strongly this year, pushing carbon dioxide emissions towards their second largest annual increase in history.”

It said the four key priorities for action if emissions reductions targets are to be met are for the delivery of a surge in clean electrification, the realisation of the full potential of energy efficiency, the prevention of methane leaks from fossil fuel operations and increased clean energy innovation.

In May the IEA said net zero by 2050 would mean huge declines in the use of coal, oil and gas. It said then there should be no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects.

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With the UK facing an energy crisis following a surge in gas prices, the IEA said there will be an “ever-present risk of mismatches between energy supply and demand” amid the net zero drive.