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Data: IEA; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

A major new report provides a stark warning ahead of the UN climate summit: Yes, clean-tech deployment is really surging, but energy systems are still transforming far too slowly to rein in global warming.

Driving the news: The International Energy Agency is out with its big annual World Energy Outlook, a 386-page trove of data and analysis.

Here are some big takeaways...

  • Carbon emissions are bouncing way back. 2021 is on pace to bring the second-largest increase on record as fossil fuel use recovers from 2020's restrictions and economic slowdown.
  • Current targets would make progress. Check out the chart above. If nations meet their current pledges under the Paris Agreement and announced longer-term targets, energy-related emissions would decline by 40% by 2050, IEA projects.
  • But even that's way too rosy. Pledges and on-the-ground policies don't match right now. Under existing and announced policies, IEA projects global average temperatures to vault dangerously past the Paris targets to reach 2.6°C (4.7°F) above preindustrial levels by 2100 and keep rising.
  • A lot more investment is needed. Getting on an emissions-cutting pathway consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C — the most ambitious Paris goal — would mean a tripling of annual investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure to nearly $4 trillion annually by 2030.
  • Procrastinating is not good. Consider this: IEA estimates that if nations implemented policies consistent with their existing pledges and targets, global fossil fuel demand would peak in 2025. Yet the transition to cleaner sources is still too slow to meet the Paris target of limiting temperature rise to "well below" 2°C (3.6°F) compared to preindustrial levels, and ideally to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Threat level: "The world's hugely encouraging clean energy momentum is running up against the stubborn incumbency of fossil fuels in our energy systems," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement.

  • He said the UN summit must provide a "clear and unmistakable signal" that nations are committed to "rapidly scaling up the clean and resilient technologies of the future."

The report also delves into what IEA officials call a huge economic opportunity.

Expand chart
Data: International Energy Agency; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The big picture: It estimates the future market size for a subset of key technologies under two scenarios — nations' existing and announced policies versus an energy system consistent with holding warming to 1.5°C.

  • In that net-zero emissions pathway, the market for five clean technologies rises to well over $1 trillion annually by 2050.

What they're saying: "This is comparable in size to the current global oil market. This creates enormous prospects for companies that are well positioned along an expanding set of global supply chains," IEA said. Go deeper: Carbon emissions spiking despite clean energy surge

Go deeper: Carbon emissions spiking despite clean energy surge

Go deeper

What the initial UN Climate Summit attendance list reveals

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The UN Climate Summit set to begin Oct. 31 in Glasgow will bring an unprecedented combination of leaders for such an event (even Pope Francis!), and the likely absence of vital players — notably Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

Why it matters: The speeches and backroom meetings at COP26 between leaders on the summit's first two days will set the tone for the rest of the gathering. These will be moments when countries showcase any new pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the Paris Agreement's targets.

Oct 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A price tag of $500 billion to $555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.

1 hour ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.