Countries must set a global goal to slash carbon emissions to unlock more than £30 trillion needed in energy investments to tackle climate change, a report has urged.
The World Energy Council study, which draws on insights of more than 2,500 industry leaders and policy makers, also calls for a global carbon price polluters must pay for their emissions, to level the playing field between traditional and clean energy schemes.
Released ahead of key United Nations climate talks in Paris in December, the report warns uncertainty over global policies is one of the biggest obstacles to unlocking £31- £34 trillion in investments in the energy sector needed to address the problem.
Negotiators at the talks, which aim to secure a new international deal on tackling climate change, must agree a clear framework an global target to cut emissions to drive investment in clean technology such as renewables, nuclear and energy efficiency, it said.
The target must build on countries’ national plans for tackling their greenhouse gases and take their different circumstances into account.
Other measures that are needed to transform the world’s energy sector to low carbon include removing trade barriers such as tariffs for environmental goods, putting more emphasis on cutting energy demand and providing the right policy signals to scale up investment.
And a global carbon price should be set, making polluters pay for their greenhouse gas emissions in order to account for the true costs of burning fossil fuels, which would redirect investments to low-carbon alternatives such as renewables.
Joan MacNaughton, executive chairwoman, World Energy Trilemma, said: “The energy industry believes the time is ripe for stronger action on climate change, and it is more than ready to play its full part, building on the examples of leadership which some businesses are already showing.
“Our findings show that there is a real thirst for vigorous implementation of strong commitments – the focus now needs to move from negotiation to action.
“Unless this happens, it will become increasingly difficult to deliver across the three “trilemma“ goals of energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.
“As the energy industry is telling us, it is now time to get something done.”
The World Energy Council warned action was urgently needed as global energy demand is set to change dramatically in the next few decades, with growing economies such as Brazil, India, China and South East Asia key to tackling climate change.
Asia is set to produce almost 50% of global economic growth by 2050, with total primary energy consumption rising 45% to 48%, while the Middle East and North Africa will see energy demand double.
European economic output is expected to double in the next 35 years, but improved energy efficiency will mean that demand for power, heating and transport fuels will remain unchanged across the continent.