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WWF - IEA energy report shows world ‘in denial’ over climate change

Commenting on the publication of the International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2012 recently 1, WWF-UK said that Governments and businesses were ‘in denial’ over the growing threat of climate change.

Referring to the IEA’s statement that two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserve cannot be used if the world is to limit global warming to 2°C, WWF-UK said that is was ‘crazy’ that Governments were still backing fossil fuels over renewables. The group said that the UK Energy Bill needed to mark a decisive away from fossil fuels towards renewable sources of energy.

Commenting, Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: “The IEA have delivered yet another sober assessment of our failure to put the world’s energy systems onto a sustainable path. Many governments and businesses are clearly in denial over the threat posed by climate change and need to accept that we have to start leaving fossil fuels in the ground rather than dashing to develop new reserves. It’s simply crazy to think otherwise.”

WWF-UK also highlighted the potential offered by effective energy efficiency measures which the IEA said could help keep the door open to a 2°C world a little longer.

Keith Allott said: “Given the massive potential highlighted by the IEA for energy efficiency, it’s astounding that ways of promoting it haven’t been included in the draft UK Energy Bill. Energy efficiency could cut people’s bills in the UK by £10 billion a year 2 – we must make sure we benefit from this.”

WWF’s global director of energy policy, Dr Stephan Singer, also backed the call by the IEA to cut fossil fuel subsidies and redirect the cash into clean renewables and energy conservation. He said: “It is almost the final nail in the coffin of the global fossil fuel industry’s credibility to see the IEA very prominently highlighting the fact that about two thirds of the presently available fossil fuel reserves have to stay underground if the world is serious about staying below 2 degree global warming.

“This science-based but blunt assessment should be heard clearly by all countries. This is not only about stopping all new large fossil fuel developments such as in the Arctic; this is about surrendering existing assets as well, and it is the price to pay to avoid global climate disaster.”

Notes to editors:

1. IEA: North America leads shift in global energy balance, IEA says in latest World Energy Outlook (16 October 2012):
http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2012/november/name,33015,en.html

2. WWF: Energy efficiency could reduce electricity bills by £10 billion a year (16 October 2012): http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/press_centre/?unewsid=6245

For more information:

George Smeeton, Senior Press Officer WWF-UK
Tel: 01483 412 388, Mob: 07917 052 948, email:
GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk