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Wv executives balk at International Energy Agency’s call for no new investment in fossil fuels | Energy and environment

By on May 24, 2021 0

The intergovernmental organization that envisions a sustainable energy future for the planet has sounded the alarm about the global climate crisis that West Virginia leaders are rejecting.

The International Energy Agency said last week that investors should not fund any new coal, oil or natural gas projects if the world is to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Earth must meet the mid-century deadline to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst effects of climate change, the agency reiterated in a roadmap for the global energy sector that included the new recommendation to end all new fossils. fuel projects.

“The magnitude and speed of the effort demanded by this critical and formidable goal … make it perhaps the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced,” said the executive director of the International Agency. energy, Fatih Birol. Press release accompanying the 224 page report which details a path to net zero emissions.

But West Virginia congressional and state leaders don’t want to hear it.

“Extreme policies like the elimination of fossil fuels are terrible for West Virginia and America,” Representative Alex Mooney, RW.Va., said in a statement. “The elimination of fossil fuels will lead to job losses and unsustainable energy prices.”

“The IEA is doing what the Biden administration is doing, which enforces an impossible standard that just isn’t feasible at any level and will cause a lot of pain,” said West Virginia Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, in a statement.

West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore, also a Republican, trashed the International Energy Agency report and said he was working with his counterparts in other states to encourage banks and lending institutions to continue to work with the fossil fuel industries.

“Abstract proposals like these may sound formidable to the awakened liberal elite pushing their radical agendas, but they completely ignore the realities facing those of us who live in the real world and would be affected by these decisions.” Moore said in a statement. .

The International Energy Agency calls for the world’s total annual energy investment to reach $ 5 trillion by 2030. The agency predicts that increased private and government spending would create millions of jobs in cities. clean energy, including energy efficiency, as well as in engineering, manufacturing and construction industries, pushing global gross domestic product 4% higher in 2030 than it would reach under current trends.

The agency’s report projects demand for coal to drop by 90% to just 1% of total energy consumption in 2050, with demand for gas falling by 55% and demand for oil by 75%. Annual investment in transport and distribution networks would rise from $ 260 billion today to $ 820 billion in 2030. The number of public charging points for electric vehicles would rise from around 1 million today to 40 million by 2030, which would require an annual investment of nearly $ 90 billion in 2030..

Most of the global reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 towards the agency’s net zero path come from technologies already available today. But the agency recognizes that nearly half of the reductions needed to reach the 2050 net zero deadline come from technologies that are currently only in the demonstration or prototype phase.

The agency, which is made up of 30 member countries, calls for measures to establish markets for investment in carbon capture, use and storage technologies that capture carbon dioxide emissions from sources such as coal-fired power plants and reuse carbon dioxide to create products or store it. underground permanently in geological formations so that it does not enter the atmosphere.

“Recycling and regional revitalization programs [sic] would be essential to reduce the social impact of job losses at the local level and to enable workers and communities to find alternative livelihoods, ”the report said. “There may also be opportunities to locate new clean energy facilities, including new processing facilities needed for critical minerals, in areas most affected by mine closures.”

Carbon capture and storage technology has been seen as a way to keep coal in the energy mix as the country moves away from coal and cuts emissions.

“Ditching fossil fuels will only kill jobs, bail out our thriving energy industry and leave America dependent on unreliable energy resources,” Representative Carol Miller, RW.Va., said in a statement. “To reduce emissions, the world must come together to invest in new technologies, such as carbon capture, and empower high-carbon countries.”

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries agreed on Friday to end government support for thermal coal-fired power generation unaccompanied by carbon capture technology by the end of 2021. The G7 includes states United, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. . China, the world’s largest source of carbon emissions, is not a member.

“These investment decisions must be left to the free market, because free market capitalism has been and remains the greatest driver of innovation and transformation in our global economy,” said Moore.

But there are signs that the free market is moving away from fossil fuels as well.

Green bonds and global banking sector loans have exceeded the value of fossil fuel finance so far this year, according to Bloomberg League Tables, which has not happened since the 2015 Paris Agreement, a treaty international agreement that nearly 200 parties have adopted aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But Morrisey – who filed an 18-state petition last month won by former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election urging the US Supreme Court to limit the authority of the US agency environmental protection – decided that the ambitious global action on climate change which the International Energy Agency insists is an impossible pipe dream not worth pursuing .

“We believe that American sovereignty still exists,” Morrisey said, “and we will fight to ensure that our sovereignty is maintained and respected.”

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