Russian invasion causing ‘historic’ transition to green energy

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its implications for the global energy market has led to a quicker transition to green energy, according to the International Energy Agency.

Analysis based on the latest global energy policies show global carbon emissions will peak by 2025 due to increased investment in renewables, as nations battle the energy crisis.

Global clean energy investment could also reach more than $2 trillion a year by 2030, an increase of more than 50%, if current trends continue.

‘Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, not just for the time being, but for decades to come,’ said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. ‘Even with today’s policy settings, the energy world is shifting dramatically before our eyes. Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic and definitive turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system.’

While the UK has committed to more oil and gas projects in the North Sea under Liz Truss, the world is on track for a speedier transition to renewable energy than thought.

The IEA’s World Energy Outlook (WEO) found many governments are seeking to transition away from oil and gas as prices soar, with notable responses including the US’ Inflation Reduction Act, the EU’s Fit for 55 package and Japan’s Green Transformation (GX) programme. China, India and Korea have also set ambitious energy targets.

This is the first time the WEO has exhibited a peak or plateau of fossil fuels, with coal use to fall back in the next few year, natural gas reaching a peak by the end of the decade and oil demand levelling off in the mid-2030’s.

However, analysis shows fossil fuels fall from 80% to around 60% of the global energy mix by 2050 and CO2 emissions fall from 37 billion tonnes per year to 32 billion tonnes by 2050. This still far above what is required to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis and is associated with a rise of 2.5°C.

‘It is essential to bring everyone on board, especially at a time when geopolitical fractures on energy and climate are all the more visible,’ said Birol. ‘This means redoubling efforts to ensure that a broad coalition of countries has a stake in the new energy economy. The journey to a more secure and sustainable energy system may not be a smooth one. But today’s crisis makes it crystal clear why we need to press ahead.’

The IEA has also released a report this week which found carbon emissions will grow by a much smaller fraction this year compared to the sharp increase last year following the pandemic.

Image by: Karsten Würth


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