18/06/2020 09:03 AST

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has offered an energy sector roadmap for governments to spur economic growth, create millions of jobs and cut carbon emissions that would require global investment of about $1 trillion annually over the next three years.

Set out in a Special Report on Sustainable Recovery from the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook series, the plan would also accelerate the deployment of modern, reliable and clean energy technologies and infrastructure by integrating energy policies into government responses to the economic shock caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

In an analysis carried out in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, the report shows that the set of policy actions and targeted investments over the 2021-2023 period that are outlined in the Sustainable Recovery Plan can achieve a range of significant outcomes, notably:

• boost global economic growth by an average of 1.1 percentage points a year
• save or create roughly 9 million jobs a year
• reduce annual global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by a total of 4.5 billion tonnes by the end of the plan

In addition, the plan would deliver other improvements to human health and well-being, including driving a 5% reduction in air pollution emissions, bringing access to clean-cooking solutions to around 420 million people in low-income countries, and enabling nearly 270 million people to gain access to electricity.

“Governments have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reboot their economies and bring a wave of new employment opportunities while accelerating the shift to a more resilient and cleaner energy future,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director.

“Policy makers are having to make hugely consequential decisions in a very short space of time as they draw up stimulus packages. Our Sustainable Recovery Plan provides them with rigorous analysis and clear advice on how to tackle today’s major economic, energy and climate challenges at the same time. The plan is not intended to tell governments what they must do. It seeks to show them what they can do.” Based on detailed assessments of more than 30 specific energy policy measures, the Sustainable Recovery Plan considers cost-effective approaches, the circumstances of individual countries, existing pipelines of energy projects, and current market conditions. It spans six key sectors – electricity, transport, industry, buildings, fuels and emerging low-carbon technologies.

The IEA said that global energy investment is set for an unprecedented plunge of 20% in 2020. Last year, the global energy industry employed around 40 million people but 3 million of those jobs have been lost or are at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The largest portion of the millions of new jobs created through the Sustainable Recovery Plan would be in retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency and in the electricity sector, particularly in grids and renewables. The other areas that would see higher employment include energy efficiency in industries such as manufacturing, food and textiles; low-carbon transport infrastructure; and more efficient and new energy vehicles.

Electricity grids, the backbone of secure and reliable power systems, would see a 40% increase in capital spending after years of declining investment. This would put them on a stronger footing to withstand natural disasters, severe weather and other potential threats.

The IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit on July 9 will gather ministers from countries representing 80% of global energy use, as well as industry CEOs, big investors and other key leaders from the public and private sectors around the world.

The high-level virtual dialogue will review both near-term actions for sustainable recovery and measures to accelerate clean energy technology innovation for reaching long-term decarbonisation plans.


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