Oct 13, 2020 - Energy & Environment

IEA warns of CO2 "lock in" from current fossil fuel infrastructure

The International Energy Agency examined what happens if current and planned fossil fuel infrastructure worldwide is operated through its estimated lifespan.

Why it matters: That alone, it finds, could easily blow past the goal of holding warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. That's the most ambitious and longshot goal of the Paris agreement to lessen harm from climate change.

How it works: The report models the effect if all of today's power plants, vehicles, industrial plants and buildings "continue to rely on unabated combustion of fossil fuels." IEA then includes power plants currently under construction.

The big picture: "Our bottom-up country-by-country analysis of energy infrastructure both in operation today and under construction shows that, if these assets were operated in line with past practice until the end of their lifetimes, they would generate a level of CO2 emissions that would lead to a long-term temperature increase of 1.65 °C (with a 50% probability)," it states.

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