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IEA: Energy crisis could mark ‘historic turning point’ towards cleaner future

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Published: 30 October 2022

The latest report by the International Energy Agency indicates that government responses to the energy crisis signal a turning point towards “a cleaner, more affordable and more secure” energy system

EIA: Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine | Photo by PPrat on iStock

The global energy crisis could be a ‘historic turning point towards a cleaner and safer future’. This is according to the latest World Energy Outlook by the International Energy Agency (IEA). For the first time, global demand for each of the fossil fuels shows a peak or plateau across all calculated scenarios.

“Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, not just for the time being, but for decades to come,” said Fatih Birol, director of the IEA. According to him, “the energy world is shifting dramatically before our eyes. Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic and definitive turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system”.

Under the current policy scenario, coal consumption will decline in the coming years and natural gas demand will reach a plateau by the end of the decade. Due to the increasing sales of electric vehicles, the demand for oil will level off in more than ten years. “This means that total demand for fossil fuels declines steadily from the mid-2020s to 2050,” the IEA concluded.

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century, there has been a correlation between economic growth and the increase in the use of fossil fuels. “Putting this rise into reverse will be a pivotal moment in energy history,” the IEA added. The share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix in the Stated Policies Scenario falls from around 80% to just above 60% by 2050

Yet, CO₂ emissions are still too high, according to the IEA. The agency has calculated that global temperatures will rise by 2.5 °C the next eighty years. That is significantly more than what it was agreed under the Paris climate agreement.

This article was originally published in Dutch business newspaper FD on 27 October 2022.

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