The International Energy Agency has released its annual World Energy Outlook, chock full of facts and predictions about the global energy market. Oil prices are low; they will probably rise again; energy efficiency is improving and dirty energy use is forecast to decline—but not quickly enough. Allow us to skip directly to the part about our ongoing slow motion global catastrophe.
There are unmistakeable signs that the much-needed global energy transition is underway, but not yet at a pace that leads to a lasting reversal of the trend of rising CO2 emissions. Annual investment in low-carbon technologies in our central scenario increases, but the cumulative $7.4 trillion invested in renewable energy to 2040 represents only around 15% of total investment in global energy supply. The steady decarbonisation of electricity supply is not matched by a similarly rapid shift in end-use sectors, where it is much more difficult and expensive to displace coal and gas as fuels for industry, or oil as a transport fuel. The net result is that energy policies, as formulated today, lead to a slower increase in energy-related CO2 emissions, but not the full de-coupling from economic growth and the absolute decline in emissions necessary to meet the 2 °C target.
The big climate conference that’s about to happen in France better come up with some good ideas or we are sunk my friends.