Demand for fossil fuels will peak before 2030, according to IEA

MADRID, 24 Oct.

Demand for fossil fuels will peak before 2030, according to IEA


Global demand for oil, coal and natural gas will reach its highest point before the end of the current decade, according to new forecasts from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which considers the transition to clean energy "unstoppable", although it highlights the need to increase investment in this type of energy sources.

"The transition towards clean energy is happening around the world and is unstoppable," said the executive director of the IEA, Fatih Birol, at the presentation of the 'World Energy Outlook' report, where he argued that governments, companies and investors should support clean energy transitions rather than hinder them.

According to the agency attached to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the global energy crisis may mark "the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era", as the impetus behind transitions to clean energy is now sufficient for global demand for coal, oil and natural gas to "peak before 2030" under a stated policy scenario.

In this way, the proportion of coal, oil and natural gas in the world's energy supply, stagnant for decades at around 80%, begins to decrease and reaches 73% by 2030, which the IEA describes as "an important change ", although it warns that, if demand for these fossil fuels remains at a high level, it is far from sufficient to achieve global climate goals.

"Although the demand for fossil fuels has been strong in recent years, there are signs of a change of direction," the report states, highlighting that, along with the deployment of low-emission alternatives, the pace at which they are adding new fossil fuel-using assets to the energy system.

In this sense, he points out that while the end of fossil fuel growth does not mean the end of investment in these energy sources, it undermines the justification for any increase in spending, although he warns that current investment in oil and gas is almost double the level required in the zero emissions (NZE) scenario in 2030, indicating a clear risk of prolonged use of fossil fuels that would leave the 1.5°C target out of reach.

Thus, the IEA points out that simply cutting oil and gas spending will not put the world on track towards the NZE scenario, adding that the key to an orderly transition is to increase investment in all aspects of a clean energy system, whose development It can be reinforced with policies that facilitate the exit of inefficient and polluting assets, such as old coal plants, or that restrict the entry of new ones into the system.

Likewise, it points out that the global peaks in demand for each of the three fossil fuels mask important differences between economies at different stages of development, since the drivers of growth in demand for energy services in most emerging economies and in Development remain very strong, so finding and financing low-emission ways to meet the growing energy demand in these economies is a vital determinant of the speed at which global fossil fuel use will eventually fall.

"The urgent challenge is to increase the pace of new clean energy projects, especially in many emerging and developing economies outside China," warns the IEA, for which a renewed effort, including stronger international support, will be vital, to address obstacles such as high capital costs, limited fiscal space for government support and challenging business environments.

In this sense, Birol has argued that advancing this transition offers "immense benefits", including new industrial opportunities and jobs, greater energy security, cleaner air, universal access to energy and a safer climate for all.

"Given the current tensions and volatility in today's traditional energy markets, claims that oil and gas represent safe options for the world's energy and climate future appear weaker than ever," he noted.

In this regard, the IEA report proposes a global strategy for 2030 consisting of five key pillars: tripling global renewable capacity; double the pace of energy efficiency improvements; reduce methane emissions from fossil fuel operations by 75%; innovative, large-scale financing mechanisms to triple clean energy investments in emerging and developing economies; and measures to ensure an orderly decline in the use of fossil fuels, including an end to new approvals for coal-fired power plants.

"Each country needs to find its own path, but international cooperation is crucial to accelerate clean energy transitions," Birol stressed.

In particular, for the IEA director, the speed at which emissions decrease will depend largely on our ability to finance sustainable solutions to meet the growing energy demand of the world's fast-growing economies. "All of this points to the vital importance of redoubling collaboration and cooperation, not retreating from them," he added.