World Energy Outlook is a report published annually by the International Energy Agency and attributed importance by the authorities in the global energy sector. The International Energy Agency has been headed by Fatih Birol since September 1, 2015. The World Energy Outlook 2021 report was published on October 13, 2021. In this article, we will include the findings of this report.
The report begins by noting that a new global energy economy is on the rise. The new energy economy will be more electrified, efficient, connected and cleaner. It is stated that this new economic system is also supported by relatively lower costs: In most markets, solar and wind energy have become the cheapest method of generating electricity. But the green transformation has a long way to go. Despite the proliferation of solar and wind power, the world’s coal consumption has grown strongly this year, with global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rising by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021, making it the second largest increase in history. The rapid but unstable economic recovery experienced after the coronavirus pandemic continues to put serious pressure on today’s energy systems: there are sharp rises in the prices of natural gas, coal and electricity.
Another finding of the report is that greenhouse gas emissions from the global energy sector cause global average temperatures to increase by 1.1 degrees compared to the pre-industrial period. For this reason, the energy sector has to be at the ‘heart’ of the fight against climate change. On the other hand, the need for energy is rising day by day with the increasing population, and the dilemma of rising energy demand and the fact that energy is the biggest emission source stands as a major obstacle for politicians to overcome. The report points out that there is a significant gap between today’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments and the reduction required to reach 1.5 degrees, and offers four suggestions to close this gap:
- Clean energy:
It is essential to double wind and solar capacity, increase low-emissions generation methods including the use of nuclear power as appropriate, accelerate the coal phase-out, and increase electricity use for transport and heating.
- Focus on energy efficiency:
An ‘unremitting’ focus on energy efficiency is crucial to closing the gap. In addition, it is necessary to ‘soften’ the demand for energy by increasing efficiency and enabling behavioral changes of people and companies.
- Significant reduction in methane emissions caused from fossil fuel operations:
Methane emissions are the second biggest cause of global warming. Fossil fuel operations are also the biggest source of these emissions. Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations is one of the most important initiatives that can be taken in the short term to fight against global warming.
- A major technological breakthrough in renewable energy:
Most of the technologies required for 2050 net-zero goals are still in development. These technologies are aimed at reducing emissions from iron and steel, cement and other energy-intensive sectors and transportation, and the realization of these technological breakthroughs is very important to achieve the net-zero targets for 2050.
Finally, as stated in the report, in order to limit global warming to one and a half degrees compared to pre-industrial averages, 4 trillion dollars of financing for clean energy should be provided until 2030. It is also pointed out that 70% of the said financing is required to close the gap between the reduction commitments of developing countries and the reduction required to reach one and a half degrees.
You can access World Energy Outlook 2021 from this link.