Global Crises Can Accelerate the Clean Energy Shift

BENGALURU, India (AP) — 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 in a report. Thursday. He revealed that global demand for fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, is expected to peak or plateau over the next few decades.

The report looked at scenarios based on current policies and said coal use will decline in the next few years, natural gas demand will plateau by the end of the decade, and rising sales of electric vehicles means that the need for oil will stabilize. in the mid-2030s before declining slightly in the middle of the century. Total emissions are currently increasing every year, but slowly.

“Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of Russia’s 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 soaring energy prices.

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

The role of natural gas as a “transitional fuel” that will bridge the gap between a fossil fuel-based energy system and a renewable system has also taken a dent, according to the report. Although it is a fossil fuel, natural gas is considered cleaner than coal and oil because its combustion produces less carbon dioxide.

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

This is in line with a UN report released on Wednesday which said current climate commitments are “far from where” they need to be to meet the ambitious goal. Top climate scientists say that to keep warming in line with the 1.5°C target, emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030.

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

“Investment in clean energy pays off. This is why the world is on track to peak CO2 emissions. But this is only the first step. We need big emissions cuts, not a plateau,” said Dave Jones, energy analyst at London-based environmental think tank Ember.

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

“The energy crisis has hurt the climate crisis, but fortunately the response is the same for both: a gigantic increase in clean energy investment,” Jones said.

“This report makes a very strong economic case for renewable energy that is not only more competitive and affordable than alternatives to fossil fuels, but is also proving to be much more resilient to economic and geopolitical shocks,” said Maria Pastukhova, Advisor main policy in E3G, a think tank on climate change.

She added that leaders and negotiators at the UN climate conference in Egypt next month will need to “redouble their efforts” to reduce energy demand and unlock funding for developing countries to help them. finance their transition to renewable energy, which would accelerate the reduction of emissions.

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