The beginning of the end for fossil fuels, explains the head of the International Energy Agency
The world is at the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era and demand will peak before 2030, the leading global energy agency said.
International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol said demand for oil, coal and natural gas will fall permanently “sooner than many people expected.”
He said the “world is on the cusp of a historic turning point” as the agency forecast for the first time that demand will peak in the next few years even if governments do not announce new climate action.
“We are witnessing the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era and must prepare for the next era,” Birol said.
He urged policymakers to be “flexible” and do more to accelerate the transition to clean energy and reduce emissions to meet goals to limit global warming.
Fatih Birol, chief executive of the International Energy Agency (pictured), said demand for oil, coal and natural gas will decline permanently “sooner than many people expected”.
Last year, the IEA predicted fossil fuel demand would peak in 2030, but pushed the date forward in its latest annual World Energy Outlook report.
Ahead of the report’s publication next month, Birol wrote in the FT that the “spectacular” growth of clean energy such as solar panels and the shift to electric cars was the driving force behind the revised forecast.
Meanwhile, the global energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine helped accelerate the transition as European countries moved away from natural gas.
He also pointed to structural changes in China’s economy, including the growth of renewable energy and nuclear energy, which contributed to the revised forecast.
China is the world’s largest coal consumer, but the shift, coupled with a slowing economy, suggested that “coal consumption will soon decline,” Birol said, adding: “Solar, wind and nuclear power will be the potential growth.” eating up the coal in China.” .
“High levels for the three fossil fuels are a welcome sight and show that the transition to cleaner and safer energy systems is gaining momentum and that efforts to prevent the worst impacts of climate change are making progress.”
However, “faster and stronger policy action” is needed to limit global warming, he said. Fossil fuel companies have previously sharply criticized the agency over its call to stop investing in new oil projects.
OPEC, the group of oil producing countries, accused the IEA in April of creating “volatility in the markets.”