When it comes to the future of energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been a reliable source of information for decades. Every two years, the Paris-based organization publishes its World Energy Outlook, providing projections and policy insights on global energy trends out to 2040.
The 2019 edition of the report was recently released and includes an in-depth analysis of the role of energy in efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as called for in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based organization that tracks energy trends, recently published some reports containing projections of how global energy use will change in the coming decades. Here’s what they found:
Energy demand is expected to increase by 33% between now and 2040. And, if governments don’t step in, carbon emissions will rise by 30%.
Instead, they project that global carbon emissions will be flat between now and 2040. That would mark a considerable change compared to historical trends, but it would be consistent with the overall goals of the Paris climate agreement, which aims to hold off 2°C or more of global warming.
China’s emissions are expected to peak by 2030. In other words, China is far from reaching a peak yet. But this projection is still essential because China currently produces about 28% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, more than any other country on earth. So its future emissions growth could have an enormous impact on the climate.
Renewables are surging but not enough to make up for the rising energy demand. Renewable energy will pass natural gas as the second-largest source of electricity generation by 2030, but it won’t be enough.
The IEA’s latest report also calls for dramatic increases in renewable energy production over the next few decades. These conclusions are based on a “450 Scenario” in which global temperatures do not exceed a 2°C increase over pre-industrial levels, which they have already exceeded.
However, there is no consensus on how possible it is to achieve this target unless all countries take immediate action.
IEA points out that there are many ways to reduce carbon pollution while saving money and improving public health by using less energy.