Global energy emissions have been forecast to be peaking by 2025 as a result of a shift in investments following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which pushed renewable sources to the forefront, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA)'s annual World Energy Outlook report released this week.
The global energy crisis triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine is causing profound and long-lasting changes that have the potential to hasten the transition to a more sustainable and secure energy system, the study noted.
Energy markets and policies have changed not just for the time being, but for decades to come, said IEA executive director Fatih Birol in a statement one year after the organization had spoken of no clear peak in sight in energy emissions.
Based on the latest announcements in the face of soaring energy prices, the IEA forecasts global clean energy investment to rise by more than 50 % to US$ 2 trillion per year by 2030, which will propel sustained gains in renewables and nuclear power.
Global energy-related CO2 emissions are set to fall back slowly from 37 billion tonnes per year to 32 billion tonnes by 2050, the report added.
Severe climate change impacts are expected by the end of the century: Coal use will drop in the next few years as more renewables become available, while natural gas will hit a plateau by the end of the decade, instead of the previous forecast of a steady rise. Oil demand is set to level off in the mid-2030s and then gradually decline towards mid-century due to the uptake of electric vehicles, instead of the earlier estimate of a steady increase. Hence, the share of fossil fuels will fall from around 80 % to just above 60 % by 2050, which will still leave the world on track for a rise in global temperatures of around 2.5 degrees Celsius.
The IEA document also foresees zero net emissions by 2050, which is necessary to hit the 1.5°C warming target as per the Paris Agreement. But that would require clean energy investments of around US$ 4 trillion per year by 2030, instead of the current forecast of US$ 2 trillion.
The IEA, with all its expertise and authority, is clear: clean energy investments must triple by 2030, and gas is a dead end, because of its high price, volatility, [and] geopolitical dependence, said Laurence Tubiana, head of the European Climate Foundation.