Global crises can accelerate the shift to clean energy

BENGALURU, India (AP) – The soaring energy costs caused by various economic factors and the war in Ukraine could be a turning point towards cleaner energy, the International Energy Agency said Thursday in a report. It found that global demand for fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, is set to peak or plateau in the coming decades.

The report looked at current policy-based scenarios and said coal use will decline over the next few years, demand for natural gas will reach a full stop by the end of the decade, and the rise in electric vehicle sales means the oil needs will level off in the mid-1930s before declining slightly in the mid-century. Total emissions are currently increasing every year, but slowly.

“Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, not just for now, but for decades to come,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. Bottlenecks in supply chains have also contributed to the surge in energy prices.

“The world of energy is radically changing before our eyes. Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic and definitive turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and safer energy system, ”Birol said.

The role of natural gas as a “transition fuel” that will bridge the gap between a fossil fuel-based energy system and a renewable one has also dented, the report said. Although it is a fossil fuel, natural gas is considered cleaner than coal and oil, as burning it produces less carbon dioxide.

But despite the broadly positive outlook, the report adds that the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix puts the world on track for 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming by the end of the century, one degree. whole (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Fahrenheit) more than the target set in the Paris climate agreement.

This is in line with a UN report released Wednesday that current climate commitments are “nowhere near” to where they need to be to achieve the ambitious goal. Top climate scientists say that to keep warming in line with the 1.5 ° C target, emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030.

Energy policy analysts say that while there are promising steps in the right direction, the shift to clean energy needs to be much faster.

“Investments in clean energy are paying off. It is why the world is well on its way to reaching the peak of CO2 emissions. But this is only the first step. We need big reductions in emissions, not a plateau, ”said Dave Jones, an energy analyst at the London-based environmental think tank, Ember.

The report estimates that investments in clean energy will exceed $ 2 trillion by 2030, but added that it would need to double to keep the transition in line with climate goals.

“The energy crisis has dwarfed the climate crisis, but fortunately the answer is the same for both: a giant step forward in investing in clean energy,” said Jones.

“This report represents a sound economic argument for renewable energy, which is not only more cost-competitive and affordable than alternatives to fossil fuels, but is also proving to be much more resilient to economic and geopolitical shocks,” he said. Maria Pastukhova, senior political advisor at E3G, a think tank on climate change.

He added that leaders and negotiators at the United Nations climate conference in Egypt next month will have to “double” the reduction in energy demand and unlock funding for developing countries to help finance their energy transition. renewables which would accelerate emissions cuts.


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