IEA to Track Progress on Glasgow Climate Pledges

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Ole Berg-Rusten/AP

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has announced plans to track implementation of the climate pledges countries made at the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told reporters this week that the initiative will monitor the extent to which countries are living up to the commitments they made.

It will focus on four key sectors: power generation, iron and steel, road transport and hydrogen.

"We will look year by year to determine whether the developments in these four major critical areas are in line with the international climate cause and highlight the gaps and provide policy advice to governments," Birol said.

The IEA chief said COP26 had been a qualified success, but that deeds matter more than words at the end of the day.

If all of the pledges made in Glasgow were met in a timely fashion, the rise in global temperatures would be limited to 1.8°C, Birol said.

However, this was a very big "if," he acknowledged.

In addition to monitoring implementation of the Glasgow pledges, the IEA plans several other projects to help countries meet their climate objectives.

The agency plans to publish a report in June 2022 which will seek to help developing countries wean themselves away from coal.

It will publish a nuclear energy report in May 2022, which Birol said would have "a special emphasis on the small modular reactors that many countries around the world are interested in."

And by February the IEA plans to launch an open access database that will provide better insight into countries' efforts to reduce methane emissions.

IEA Chief Energy Economist Tim Gould noted that agriculture is a bigger source of methane emissions than the energy industry, with the waste disposal sector also making a significant contribution.

However, he added that all of the "low-hanging fruit" that would yield significant cuts in methane emission cuts was to be found in the energy sector and that it therefore made sense to focus on cutting energy-related emissions.

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