World Energy Outlook 2023 is positive - GulfToday

World Energy Outlook 2023 is positive

Ordered from highest to lowest levels of fossil fuel consumption in 2050. “Liquids” excludes biofuels for BNEF. “Other” includes hydro for BNEF, and wind and solar for Equinor, IEEJ, and OPEC.

Ordered from highest to lowest levels of fossil fuel consumption in 2050. “Liquids” excludes biofuels for BNEF. “Other” includes hydro for BNEF, and wind and solar for Equinor, IEEJ, and OPEC.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook 2023 shows that there have been improvements in the transition to clean energy system though a lot more needs to be done before 2030 to meet the Paris Climate Summit target of keeping the global increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels. The increase so far in global temperatures has been 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. The window is closing.

 The extreme weather events and widespread heat waves indicate that humanity is at an edge in terms of climate change. But the report spots enough signals which promise that there is scope for keeping to the target, reducing the dependence on fossil fuels and curbing carbon emissions. First, it sees that fossil fuel consumption is likely to peak before 2030, and after that it will move downward. The report says in its executive summary: “The share of coal, oil, and natural gas in global energy supply – stuck for decades at 80% – starts to edge downwards and reaches 73 % in the STEPS (Stated Policies Scenario) by 2030.”

The second trend the report sees is in the slowing down of the Chinese economy after its long expansionary phase to a 4 per cent annual growth phase – and it is noted that the Chinese economy cannot expand anymore which would require greater consumption of fossil fuels. It says, “The country already has a world-class high-speed rail network; and residential floor space per capita is now equal to that of Japan, even though GDP per capita is much lower. This saturation points to lower future demand in many energy-intensive sectors like cement and steel.” And China is also seen as a powerhouse of clean energy, “accounting for around half of solar and wind additions and well over half of global EV sales in 2022.”

The other promising trend that the report records is that of increasing clean electrification, energy efficiency and switch to lower- and zero-carbon fuels. If the trend continues, every dollar spent by the Indian industry in improving energy efficiency means 30 per cent less carbon dioxide by 2030 compared to today, and every kilometre driven by a passenger would mean 25 per cent less carbon dioxide emission. Power generation through renewables would rise to 35 per cent in Indonesia by 2030, and Brazil would be using 40 per cent of biofuels in its energy transport consumption by that date.  

The report says that the transition to electric vehicles (EV) is on the increase. It says, “In 2020, one in 25 cars sold was electric; in 2023, this is now one in five…Thanks largely to the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, we now project that 50% of new car registration will be electric in 2030…Two years ago, the corresponding figure in …2021 was 12%”.

The governments in the world are seen to be pursuing policies to improve energy efficiency and to move to green energy systems. Earlier, American governments have been half-hearted and reluctant to frame policies which are conducive to adoption of clean energy systems.

Despite positive trends of transition towards clean energy systems, the dangers of global temperatures touching 2.4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century loom large because the energy hunger of emerging economies and those of the developing economies are going to remain high, and India will remain the highest energy guzzler in this segment. This requires governments, industry, and advanced economies to help the emerging and poorer economies to rely more on clean energy through financial aid and investment would be necessary. Any slackening in the focus on renewable energy sources would take the world to the brink of climate abyss.

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