Gallery: Irreversible Climate Change Will Occur in 5 Years if Major Inf...


According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world is currently backing itself into a corner where irreversible climate change will most likely occur in just five years. The Agency — an autonomous organization that provides comprehensive statistics and recommendations for world leaders on energy — just released their 2011 World Energy Outlook, the most comprehensive analysis yet of the world energy infrastructure. The agency found that with the amount of fossil fuel-run buildings and factories that are set to be built in the next five years, the human race will finally be locked into the critical mass of emissions that will push the Earth past the point of no return. The only way to turn back on this deadly course to a global climate change of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit is to immediately change direction toward low-emission technology but looking at the IEA statistics doesn’t give much us hope that such a major change will occur.

The IEA was founded in response to the 1974/1975 oil crisis by the governments of 16 countries including The United States, The United Kingdom and Germany and now has 28 member countries. The organization has been providing comprehensive and reliable statistics and recommendations of action to those countries for almost four decades. Their yearly publications on everything from energy efficiency improvements, emissions by country and the outlook on the world’s future energy status are highly regarded and oft quoted texts. Thus, this warning of irreversible climate change is no small statement, it is coming from the most knowledgeable people on the subject and is being said with certainty and hope for a shift in policy and practice.

The IEA is basing their warning on the world consensus to not let global temperatures change more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to do so there has been a consensus that we we need to keep global carbon emissions below 450 parts per million until the year 2035. They call this the 450 Scenario — this is a projection that was made and accepted by global leaders to help halt global emissions within a safe distance of irreversible climate change. According to the IEA, we are already at four-fifths of the carbon emissions permitted in 2035 under the 450 Scenario with our current amount of fossil fuel-burning buildings, factories and infrastructure. With the additional projected fossil fuel-burning buildings, factories and infrastructure set to be built in the next five years we will, by 2017, emit all of the carbon allowed in the 450 scenario eighteen years ahead of schedule.

For every coal-fired power plant we build, we could instead be ensuring a safe future with a geothermal power plant, a wind farm or a hydropower plant. Instead we are moving forward, continuously building infrastructure with yesterday’s technology. In addition, the IEA states that in the rush to build cheap carbon spewing factories, buildings and infrastructure we are living in a false economy. With every $1 not spent on renewable energy-based infrastructure in the next five years, we’ll have to spend an additional $4.30 after 2020 in order to reduce the then outrageous carbon emissions. “As each year passes without clear signals to drive investment in clean energy, the “lock-in” of high-carbon infrastructure is making it harder and more expensive to meet our energy security and climate goals,” said Fatih Birol, IEA Chief Economist.

Growth, prosperity and rising population will inevitably push up energy needs over the coming decades. But we cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies. The Fukushima nuclear accident, the turmoil in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and a sharp rebound in energy demand in 2010 which pushed CO2 emissions to a record high, highlight the urgency and the scale of the challenge.”

+ The International Energy Agency

+ Read the Press Release from the IEA

Via The Guardian


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  1. freeradical October 27, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    The planet is a living organism. It is constantly changing. It to goes through “cycles” and is on the verge of another one. The only difference is that it has been infested with “Parasites!”. These Parasites are slowly killing the planet and she is adapting to these attacks. Climate charge happens! It’s a natural recurring process. However these Parasites have caused an acceleration in these changes. It is a reaction to the cancer these Parasites have caused. The coming changes will in time reclaim the planet. And the Parasites will have been eradicated. Facts being told, it is the “Only” way to save the planet! And “WE” the human race are those Parasites!….

  2. Laura Rivard October 27, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I hope they ran this by Al Gore.

  3. rnbram November 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    How does the IEA incorporate into their conclusion
    a) the fact that during the Jurassic age atmospheric CO2 was nearly 100x that of the present, the temperature was (only) 3 to 5 degrees Celsius warmer, and the dinosaur food chain was wildly rich;
    b) the present conditions constitute one of the two or three lowest CO2 levels and lowest temperature levels in the last 800 million years, so surely a return-to-the-mean is a return to normal;
    c) that sea level increase might take 200-300 yrs so coastal properties will more likely collapse from old age than from flooding.
    d) the fact that Volcanoes produce more CO2 each year than has all of humanity since the Industrial Revolution began,
    e) that below 3000m the oceans are not saturated with CO2, which is need by organisms to create shells & spicules (via Calcium carbonate, CaCO3)
    f) the fact that sedimentary and slate type metamorphic rocks contain CaCO3 made from atmospheric CO2 and are the primary component of all of the Worlds major mountain ranges.
    g) were atm-CO2 to have declined to 0.018% plants would be unable to add biomass for lack of CO2
    h) a doubling of CO2 would double plant growth, doubling agricultural output
    i) The Medieval Warm Period (warmer than today) did not produce global desertification,
    j) The MWP did not produce coastline flooding at a millennia scale catastrophe;
    k) the MWP did not cause catastrophic global species extinction
    l) the MWP was not irreversible
    m) to s) all the cosmological factors that influence global climate.

    Oh, and more people die due to cold conditions that warm. They get sick more, food is less available, and effective shelter and cold season food & clothing is harder to establish.

  4. Dart November 14, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Limits to Growth was first published in 1972, and forecast problems in the first half of the 21st century.

  5. joyanu November 14, 2011 at 4:42 am

    very nice idea and good job

  6. nitalynn November 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Sorry, don’t believe them. It isn’t that I don’t think we are on the brink of climate change that will change this world into a different planet from the one we know now. It is that I think we passed the point of no return probably several years ago. Whether we passed that point physically or not (and I believe we have) there is a huge societal inertia that has to taken into account. We cannot suddenly learn to build, manufacture and live green. It will take at least one more generation and maybe two to learn the skills before they are truly in effect.

    What we are seeing now is like a train wreck in slow motion. The mistakes that put it into effect have already happened. A hand full of people running out in front of it trying to stop it physically won’t work and if they are the only ones with cell phones their death will not only be in vain it will be utter nonsense. The scientific community is the ones with the cell phones. Those who aren’t actually standing in front of the train are using them to call the engineers (on the trains). Those are the politicians who could actually do something but unfortunately they are deaf from the noise and stunned by what is happening like deers in the headlights. You will get no help from them. Instead the emphasis needs to be on dealing with the aftermath of the crash. We can’t stop the changes even if we had everyone on board and knowing what to do. I truly believe we have past the point of no return maybe several years ago. We need to be using our remaining resources very, very wisely. We need to start projecting past the wreck and figuring out how we can save as many of the victims as possible. If humanity is to exist in the world we have wrought we need to keep as many of us and our food chain alive as possible. There are going to be those that think we should not be one of the survivors if we sterilize half this planet or more and I can’t argue they will be wrong. I am just a bit stubborn though but I also know that humans learn more from mistakes than from “situation normal” so we have the potential to learn one heck of a lot because this could be the worse mistake our species has ever made. What we cannot do is to get caught up by what is happening to narrow our focus in on it and stop dealing with what is to come. I fully believe we have passed the point of no return to stop the disaster itself but I also believe we will still have several generations to use precious dying resources this and the next few generations have to find out what needs to be found out and do what needs to be done to survive this. That point of no return is still to come.

    I am definitely no scientist but love science and read a lot about a lot of different faucets of it. If you believe certain scientific thought 70,000 years ago a super-volcano exploded in the south Pacific and nearly wiped out the human race. I am very much afraid we are looking at an event that could be that catastrophic. If this thing happens fast enough the plants and animals of this world won’t have the time they need to adapt and we will see pestilence disease and famine on a scale we can not possibility comprehend. If that happens and there are human survivors who do you think they will be, the industrialized world with our cushy lifestyles? I think not. They will be those in the world now living closest to stone age man and that is exactly what they will become. I have no problem with man going back to basics but the thing is they won’t stay there. They will repeat the whole act only possibly with even more mistakes. Would you like to discover the awesome power of the atom again with no assurances that our decedents don’t really wipe themselves out? When they get to the other side of this it needs to be with the scientific and historic knowledge to go forward instead of back.

  7. curious george November 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Please read the Club of Rome book “The limits to growth”, ca 1965. Back then computers were forecasting a catastrophe by 1980. Now we have a beginning of a catastrophe in 2016, based on “the world consensus”. Of course, IEA is an expert body on climate. Everybody is. Pfui.

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