A recent International Energy Agency report found that high energy costs and energy shortages could accelerate a turn to green energy.
- According to the report, demand for nonrenewable energy like fossil fuels, coal, and natural gas will be declining in the next several decades.
- Based on current policies, researchers suggested that coal use will begin to decline and electric-vehicle usage will cut back on the demand for natural gas and oil.
- Despite these predictions, global emissions are still on the rise.
Why it’s news
Though changing to renewable energy could take time, the current energy shortages could potentially incentivize a faster change.
The report from the International Energy Agency was generally positive looking toward the future of energy, but did warn that continued use of fossil fuels could raise temperatures up to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit within the next hundred years.
Reports from the U.N. released on Wednesday agree with this observation and call for global emissions to be cut by 45% by 2030.
Investment in clean energy will reach more than $2 trillion before 2030, but the report states that double that investment is needed to reach climate goals outlined in the Paris climate agreement, Associated Press reports
“Clean energy investment is delivering. It is the reason why the world is on track to peak CO2 emissions. But that’s only the first step. We need big emissions cuts, not a plateau,” said environmental think-tank energy analyst Dave Jones.
Climate change think-tank policy advisor Maria Pastukhova warned that U.N. leaders will need to focus on reducing energy demand at their next climate conference and find funding to help developing countries establish more energy efficient resources, Associated Press reports.
What’s not being said
There are those not on board with the rapid shift to renewable energy.
While attending an energy conference in Norway this summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk addressed the European energy crisis, saying that countries should not yet decrease their dependence on fossil fuels.
Musk suggested that while the world continues to move toward fully renewable energy, there must be an increased reliance on gas and oil to avoid energy shortages.
“At this time, we actually need more oil and gas, not less,” Musk said while adding, “we must have a clear path to a sustainable energy future.”
European countries are running into energy shortages, in part because of restricted supply of gas from Russia.
In response to the shortages, some countries are imposing energy use restrictions. Axios compared the regulations to “restraints during wartime.”
Germany has cut costs by no longer lighting public buildings, museums, and landmarks overnight; cutting off hot water in Hanover public buildings; and turning off traffic lights in one city.
Meanwhile in Spain, air conditioning must not be cooler than 81 degrees Fahrenheit and storefront windows and public buildings will not be lit after 10 p.m. Italy has also regulated its air conditioning.
France has placed restrictions on lighted signs after 1 a.m. and will fine shopkeepers for leaving doors open with the air conditioning running.
Recently, a German coal mining company set to work dismantling its wind farm to allow more room to expand its coal mine. All of the company’s turbines are expected to be dismantled by the end of 2023.