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Energy Agency Report Underscores Urgency of Dealing with Climate Change

Washington, DC - World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s head of climate change, Lou Leonard, issued the following comments about the release today of The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2012 report:

“The IEA report confirms that the next several years will be critical for fighting climate change and building a clean energy economy in the US and globally. On the heels of the 2012 US election, this means President Obama must make climate and clean energy a priority in his second term – or risk losing a critical window of opportunity clearly outlined by the IEA.

“How the president takes on the climate and clean energy challenge will determine one of the primary legacies he leaves to this and all future generations. It’s not a legacy just about the environment but also about a prosperous economy and strong, safe communities.”

In addition, Leonard said that:

  •  A budget deal should support the economy of the future, not the past. The IEA report projects that renewable energy will be “the world’s second largest source of power generation by 2015.” This sobering reminder about the importance of clean energy is a powerful reality check after fact-bending portrayals of renewable energy as fad or cronyism during the recent presidential campaign. As the President leads budget negotiations, it’s vital that climate and clean energy be a guiding force, so we seize the leadership in clean energy that by all estimates will revolutionize the global economy in the coming decades. This means maintaining incentives for US clean energy industries to be competitive and ending billion dollars of subsidies to the dirty fossil energies of the past.
  • Investing in the global clean energy economy is good for communities, conservation and the economy. The IEA report reminds us that billions of people on Earth do not have access to energy and must cook with fuels that threaten their health. US support for clean energy and clean cooking options in the developing world will grow markets for US products, reduce pressures on tropical forests and build more stable, healthier communities. Policymakers should not pretend that reducing existing, modest levels of foreign assistance will help avoid the fiscal cliff.
  • $18 trillion is lying on the floor: The IEA report shows that tackling climate change and energy is an economic winner. At a time when Washington is looking for win-win solutions, the IEA report finds that bold investments energy efficiency can boost “cumulative economic output to 2035 by $18 trillion, with the biggest gross domestic product (GDP) gains in India, China, the United States and Europe.” Picking up these dollars lying on the floor is vital to rebuilding an efficient future US economy.