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In a first, global demand for every fossil fuel exhibiting a peak: Report

While climate change remains to be a matter on the backburner for governments and individuals, a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has highlighted how global demand for every fossil fuel seems to be exhibiting a peak or a plateau. In the World Energy Outlook 2022 report, the intergovernmental agency highlights, that the Russia-Ukraine war will leave its impact for decades.

“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,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol underlined in a statement. Moscow has been the world’s largest exporter of fossil fuels but the war has reoriented global energy trade. “Russian fossil fuel exports never return – in any of the scenarios in this year’s WEO – to the levels seen in 2021, with Russia’s reorientation to Asian markets particularly challenging in the case of natural gas,” the IEA underlines.

But that’s not the only concern. In a stark reminder of the current energy crisis, which has been aggravated by current geopolitical and economic concerns, the WEO sends out a warning on the fragility and unsustainability of the global energy system. “The world is in a critical decade for delivering a more secure, sustainable and affordable energy system – the potential for faster progress is enormous if strong action is taken immediately.”

It’s for the first time – as per the outlook – that global demand for every fossil fuel seems to be exhibiting a peak or plateau. “In this scenario, coal use falls back within the next few years, natural gas demand reaches a plateau by the end of the decade, and rising sales of electric vehicles (EVs) mean that oil demand levels off in the mid-2030s before ebbing slightly to mid-century,” the report underlines.

“This means that total demand for fossil fuels declines steadily from the mid-2020s to 2050 by an annual average roughly equivalent to the lifetime output of a large oil field. The declines are much faster and more pronounced in the WEO’s more climate-focused scenarios,” it further says.

At around 80 per cent, “the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix has been stubbornly high”, the IEA has said. “By 2030, this share falls below 75 per cent, and to just above 60 per cent by 2050,” it says.

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