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Global warming to cost coal-fired power generators $1.8tn - IAE

Global warming to cost coal-fired power generators $1.8tn - IAE
The International Energy Agency predicts a major reshaping of the global energy market as quicker than expected climate change could heat up the planet by and additional 5.3 degrees C if carbon emissions aren't cut.

Last year carbon emissions from fossil fuels hit a record 31.6 bn tonnes, up 1.4%, according to the IEA's World Energy Outlook report. That's despite positive figures from the two largest green house gas emitters the US and China.

American emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels fell by 200 million tonnes to levels last seen in the mid-1990s due to a transition from coal power to natural gas and renewable energy, the Guardian reports. European emissions fell 50 million tonnes due to economic contraction and renewable energy growth, despite an increase in coal energy use. The Chinese growth of emissions by 300 million tonnes is the smallest over the past decade as China continues to invest into diversifying its energy sources and installing more renewables and more energy efficiency.

The agency says the energy sector accounts for two-thirds of global CO2 emissions that are believed to fuel climate change.

The IEA warns the world is on track for the temperature increase of up to 5.3 degrees Celsius by 2100 despite the UN target of no more than 2 degrees Celsius increase. The agency calls on countries to minimise carbon emissions, stop building coal power stations and increase energy efficiency to tame the global warming within the 2 degree increase. Under this scenario, the world will leave two thirds of its fossil fuel reserves untapped before 2050, the agency reports.

“When the Stone Age came to an end, it wasn’t because there was no stones anymore, but because we had different technologies,” Bloomberg quotes Maria Van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA.  “There’s no need to use coal for our energy supply if we have other options.”

Revenues from nuclear power stations and alternative energy will increase leading coal power generators to lose up to $1.8tn in the next 20 years, the IEA reports.