2 august 2019

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Renewable energy push barely dents fossil fuel dependence

Coal, oil and gas still expected to contribute 85% of primary power supply by 2040
Solar and wind capacity contributes to just a fraction of total energy consumption

Anjli Raval and Leslie Hook in London, Financial Times August 2, 2019

Unprecedented efforts to install renewable power capacity have only translated into meeting 2 per cent of global energy demand, meaning the world’s overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels shows no sign of abating.

A new report forecasts that coal, oil and gas will still contribute about 85 per cent of primary energy supply by 2040, compared with 90 per cent today, jeopardising efforts to contain the worst impacts of climate change.

Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said 1 terawatt of installed solar and wind capacity makes up around 8 per cent of total power generation as of 2019. This equates to just a fraction of total energy consumption.

“The world risks relying on fossil fuels for decades to come,” the report said.

It forecasts carbon emissions will continue to rise, with their growth only slowing in the 2030s. This will put the world far off course in meeting the Paris climate goals, to limit global warming to well below 2C, despite growing political momentum to prevent climate change.

Energy demand, led by swelling populations in emerging economies in Asia and Africa, will increase by at least 25 per cent by 2040. Yet carbon emissions would need to halve over the same period to comply with the Paris accord, posing a huge challenge for energy systems.


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