Global demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all net-zero pledges announced by governments so far are implemented in time and in full, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.
In its annual World Energy Outlook report, the IEA also said that CO2 emissions would fall by 40% by 2050 if all national targets were met, holding the average global temperature rise at 2.1 °C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
In another scenario, based on the energy and climate measures governments have actually put in place to date, as well as specific policy initiatives that are under development, almost all of the net growth in energy demand through 2050 is met by low-emissions sources.
However, that still leaves annual emissions at around today’s levels, causing global average temperatures to hit 2.6°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
Both scenarios fail to achieve global net-zero emissions by 2050, or the 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement, which the IEA said would require a huge increase in investment in green infrastructure.
“Today’s climate pledges would result in only 20% of the emissions reductions by 2030 that are necessary to put the world on a path towards net zero by 2050,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. “Reaching that path requires investment in clean energy projects and infrastructure to more than triple over the next decade.”
This comes after a separate report from the IEA in May revealed that no fossil fuel exploration or new oil and natural gas fields are required beyond those that have already been approved in a net-zero emissions by 2050 scenario.
For the first time, the latest World Energy Outlook shows oil demand going into eventual decline in all the scenarios examined, although the timing and speed of the drop vary widely.
If all today’s announced climate pledges are met, the world would still be consuming 75 million oil barrels per day by 2050 – down from around 100 million today – but that plummets to 25 million in the net-zero emissions by 2050 scenario.
Peter Bosshard, coordinator of the Insure Our Future coalition of NGOs, said that insurance companies “need to follow the science” and make a binding commitment to stop insuring all new oil and gas projects
He added: “We will measure their climate credibility, not by lofty long-term commitments, but by the short-term action they take in line with the IEA’s findings.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings