|The mammoth gap between energy trends and climate goals|
Climate protestors outside Congress. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images
Existing and announced policies worldwide won't be nearly enough to rein in carbon emissions, despite the strong growth of climate-friendly energy sources, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.
Why it matters: The IEA's annual World Energy Outlook reports are among the most prominent attempts to model where energy systems are headed in the decades ahead. These big and data-rich studies (this year's weighs in at 810 pages) are widely cited by policymakers, analysts and other stakeholders.
What they did: The report models the long-term effect of three core scenarios on energy demand and how it is met...
Existing policiesThe combination of current and announced plansA "sustainable" pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement goal of holding temperature rise well under 2°C.
Adapted from IEA's 2019 World Energy Outlook; Chart: Axios Visuals
What they found: Check out the chart above. Even under nations' announced policies, energy demand is projected to rise by roughly 1% annually until 2040 (the end of the modeled period).
Under that pathway, the increase in global carbon emissions slows but does not peak, instead rising roughly 100 million tonnes annually from 2018 and 2040.That's a far cry from the deep emissions cuts needed to meet the Paris goals, which are a benchmark for avoiding some of the most damaging effects of warming.The big picture: Under the announced policies scenario, low-carbon sources — notably solar — meet more than half of demand growth through 2040.
Use of natural gas rises significantly too, while coal demand in 2040 is slightly below today's levels.Global oil demand grows but then "flattens out" in the 2030s. In 2040, demand is roughly 106 million barrels per day.Oil use in passenger cars peaks in the late 2020s, but that's offset by rising demand for oil in the petrochemical and other sectors.Overall, fossil fuels would still have a 74% share of the global energy mix in 2040.The bottom line: IEA executive director Fatih Birol urged emphasis on deploying the basket of technologies and bringing about efficiency gains consistent with their Paris-aligned scenario.
“The world urgently needs to put a laser-like focus on bringing down global emissions," he said in a statement. "This calls for a grand coalition encompassing governments, investors, companies and everyone else who is committed to tackling climate change."