The clean-energy transition may be inevitable, but may not happen fast enough, IEA says
The flagship annual report from the International Energy Agency, dubbed the World Energy Outlook, offers a rosy prediction of the growth of clean-energy technologies around the world. It portrays the decline of fossil fuels, the main driver of rising global temperatures, as all but inevitable.
“The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide and it’s unstoppable,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement. “It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s just a matter of ‘how soon’ — and the sooner the better for all of us.”
The IEA envisions green technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars taking off in the coming years, thanks to both supportive governmental policies and market forces. By 2030, it predicts:
- Renewables’ share of the global electricity mix will approach 50 percent, up from around 30 percent today.
- Three times as much investment will flow to offshore wind projects as to new coal- and gas-fired power plants.
- The share of fossil fuels in the global energy supply will fall to 73 percent, down from about 80 percent today.
Still, demand for fossil fuels will remain too high for humanity to meet the goal of the Paris climate accord: limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, the report says. On the supply side, the United States is churning out record amounts of oil. Yet negotiators at this fall’s United Nations climate summit, known as COP28, can make certain commitments that help keep the Paris target within reach, the IEA said. They include pledges to triple global renewable energy capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency improvements.