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IEA Says Recession To Help Reduce Carbon Emissions

October 6, 2009

The sluggish global economy could actually have benefits for reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent this year, according to a report from the International Energy Agency on Tuesday.

IEA economist Fatih Birol told reporters that the 3 percent drop from the previous year would represent the largest in 40 years.

Traditionally, global greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 3 percent each year.

The announcement comes as part of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook report, being considered at UN climate talks in Bangkok.

What’s more, the recession would cause a 5 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions from the previous IEA expectations for 2020.

Birol said this year’s reduced carbon output would stand as a “unique window of opportunity” for the global community to halt climate change.

“This gives us a chance to make real progress toward a clean-energy future, but only if the right policies are put in place promptly,” said IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka.

“Every year of delay adds an extra 500 billion dollars to the investment needed between 2010 and 2030 in the energy sector.”

The divide on the issue of climate change comes between developed nations and poor nations, which cannot agree on how much each can commit to reducing emissions.

“Continuing the current energy policies would have catastrophic consequences for the climate,” said UNFCCC chief Yvo de Boer. “This is a unique opportunity… to transition the global energy system.”

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