IEA sees global energy emissions peaking in 2025

The Paris-based organisation forecasts global clean energy investments to rise by more than 50% from today's levels to $2 trillion per year by 2030

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters


Published: Thu 27 Oct 2022, 1:40 PM

On Thursday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said it believes global energy emissions would peak in 2025, as surging prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict propel investments in renewables.

Only last year, the IEA had said that there was "no clear peak in sight" in energy emissions, but the new higher investment in wind and solar is setting up demand for all fossil fuels to peak or plateau, leading to a drop in emissions.

The global energy crisis triggered by the Russia-Ukraine crisis is causing "profound and long-lasting changes that have the potential to hasten the transition to a more sustainable and secure energy system", the IEA said, as it released its latest annual World Energy Outlook report.

Photo: World Energy Outlook 2022 report / IEA
Photo: World Energy Outlook 2022 report / IEA

Based on the latest measures and policies announced by governments in the face of soaring energy prices, the IEA forecasts global clean energy investment to rise by more than 50 per cent from today's levels to $2 trillion per year by 2030.

Those measures will propel sustained gains in renewables and nuclear power.

"As a result, a high point for global emissions is reached in 2025," the IEA said.

Global energy-related CO₂ emissions are then set to fall back slowly from a high point of 37 billion tonnes per year to 32 billion tonnes by 2050, it added.

The Paris-based organisation — which advises energy-consuming nations — said that its forecast sees demand for all types of fossil fuels peaking or hitting a plateau.

Coal use, which has seen a temporary bump higher, will drop back in the next few years, as more renewables come online.

Natural gas hits a plateau in the end of the decade, instead of the previous forecast of a steady rise.

Oil demand levels off in the mid-2030s and then gradually declines mid-century, due to the uptake of electric vehicles, instead of the earlier estimate of a steady increase.

Overall, the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix in the IEA's stated policies scenario falls from around 80 per cent to just above 60 per cent by 2050.

"Energy markets and policies have changed" due to Russia-Ukraine, "not just for the time being, but for decades to come", said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in a statement as the report was released.

However, this will still leave the world on track for a rise in global temperatures of around 2.5°C by the end of the century, which would likely trigger severe climate change impacts.

The IEA also plans to arrive at zero net emissions in 2050, which is seen as necessary to hit the 1.5°C warming target enshrined in the Paris climate pact.

That would require clean energy investments to rise to $4 trillion per year by 2030, instead of the current forecast of $2 trillion.

"The IEA, with all its expertise and authority is clear: clean energy investments must triple by 2030, and gas is a dead end," said Laurence Tubiana, head of the European Climate Foundation and France's former climate ambassador.

"The current European energy crisis clearly proves the dangers of gas: high price, volatility, geopolitical dependence," she added.


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