Last Wednesday the International Energy Agency released the World Energy Outlook, which stated that to prevent long-term average global temperatures rising above 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, severe changes to energy and industrial policies must be met, according to the Wall Street Journal.
National Geographic stated how the world has about five years to make these changes, but some don't think this challenge can be met. Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the IEA and a former U.S. diplomat, said, "We've been trying to warn our member countries, [but] it's getting harder and harder to meet this target."
The Wall Street Journal also reported that this change is unlikely since there has been a decrease in the use of low-carbon nuclear power and an increase in the use of fossil fuels, like coal, which produces the greenhouse gas (CO2), and which scientists believe plays a key role in climate change.
Of the infrastructure already built -- power plants, buildings, factories -- and of the infrastructure in the process of being built, 80 percent of CO2 is emitted in the air, National Geographic reported. From 2017 on, all buildings would have to produce no emissions to keep the target below a 3.6 degree increase.
"Coal was the biggest source of emissions growth in 2010, primarily driven by use in China and India," the IEA report said. China and India have not made a lasting commitment to curb emission output, the Wall Street Journal reported.
To achieve the goal of maintaining the climate target, more than half of the energy sources created must be made from renewable energy like solar and wind, the IEA predicts. However, this would come with a steep price tag: National Geographic reported that subsidies would be required and could reach $250 billion per year by 2035. This is four times today's level.
Richard Newell, an energy economist at Duke University and former director of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, thinks meeting climate target will be a difficult task to accomplish. "Unless something significant changes about our energy technologies, markets, and policies," he said, "current trends lead to an energy future that looks very much like the present. Just bigger-much bigger."