FAQs: Climate change

How does the IEA contribute to international efforts to address climate change?

The IEA advises member countries on ways to develop their energy policies so they effectively address climate change. Part of this work involves identifying examples of best  practice, policy and regulation and bringing them to the attention of governments, so they can emulate them. As well as this, along with the OECD, the IEA advises governments on the technical aspects of United Nations climate negotiations.


What level of global CO2 emissions comes from the power sector?

As of 2009, the global power sector is responsible for 38% total energy-related CO2 emissions. Its emissions are also growing faster than those of any other sector. Decarbonising the power sector is an absolute priority for the coming decades.


What work does the IEA carry out on environmental issues?

The Agency’s focus on environmental issues has increased steadily. Energy extraction and use have produced the lion’s share of man-made greenhouse gases – especially CO2 – that cause unwanted climate change. The IEA has worked energetically to analyse and interpret the technology and policy options that may be implemented to mitigate climate change at least possible cost. The Agency also produces an annual statistical report on CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion. Work is underway on climate-friendly technologies, with research on topics as diverse as renewable energy, energy efficiency and new carbon-capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Intellectual ground was broken with work on “energy indicators” – an approach which permits a more sophisticated appraisal of energy use and CO2 emissions.

The IEA has done seminal research on the development of emissions trading and project-based mechanisms for the Kyoto Protocol and any subsequent global framework agreement, as well as collecting and analysing national policies implemented by member countries. Work also continues in the IEA on the wider issue of energy and sustainable development. The Agency contributes to analysis and policy recommendations supporting all three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.