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Energy as dirty as 20 years ago on slow climate effort, IEA says

The level of carbon emitted in global energy supplies has barely changed in 20 years amid stalled efforts to curb pollution and increased coal use, the International Energy Agency said.

A boom in renewable technologies such as wind and solar and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol accord aimed at limiting greenhouse-gas emissions in industrial nations hasn’t halted the trend, the Paris-based IEA said today in a report.

The findings lend urgency to government attempts to cut emissions and limit temperature gains to 2 degrees Celsius compared with industrial revolution levels. Efforts appeared to be faltering as clean energy investment fell to its lowest in four years after nations pared subsidies and the European Parliament yesterday rejected a proposal designed to bolster the price of emitting carbon.

“The drive to clean up the world’s energy system has stalled,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement. “Despite much talk by world leaders, and despite a boom in renewable energy over the last decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago,” she said.

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