The International Energy Agency says global air pollution could peak before 2030 — if carbon-heavy developing countries are able to switch to cleaner fuels at no extra cost.
“Access to clean energy still remains a challenge for regions that do not have the underlying infrastructure and supply chains,” said Brent Wanner, an analyst at the agency’s directorate of global energy economics.
Costs for solar photovoltaics have fallen 60 percent and for onshore wind turbines by 30 percent in the past five years. But even with this reduction, the agency said, developing countries do not have the same ease of financing those technologies that Europe and North America have.
Paying the difference between the cheapest resource and a clean one could deliver a necessary push to peak pollution levels and begin to reduce emissions, Wanner said. Vehicles such as the Green Climate Fund, set up by the United Nations in 2010, have the widest scope to make the biggest changes, he said.
“Access to international finance can make a difference,” Wanner said. “There is real pressure in developing countries to increase power supply with all resources available, so it may take financial incentives that can be done through the international community to shift from high carbon resources like coal to cleaner ones.”