The International Energy Agency is known for its conservative estimates when it comes to climate change, which makes its most recent report all the more troubling. To keep the planet from warming more than two degrees Celsius, beyond which scientists say is a dire change, carbon emissions must be kept below 450 parts per million (ppm). But the world is already producing 80 percent of that ‘carbon budget’ and by 2015, at least 90 percent will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure.
What’s the Big Idea?
The greatest threat to the world, according to the I.E.A., is energy infrastructure currently under construction. These new sources will pump carbon into the atmosphere for decades, and once there, carbon can trap heat on the planet for a century. The agency’s report says the world has five years to make drastic changes in its energy policies before the door to saving the world from climate change closes forever. Still, countries the world over are calling for delays in climate negotiations and building new energy infrastructure.