Will global fossil fuels emissions really peak this year ?

It’s an annual event for the energy and sustainability crowds, the latest World Energy Outlook by the reputed International Energy Agency is out. For years, this publication was lowballing renewable energy sources. And all along independant organizations were lamenting the fact. Figures would prove them wrong : solar, wind and other technologies would soar higher and higher.

Little by little, then all at once. This is exactly what is taking place with solar, electric vehicles, heat pumps and similar technologies. And we are now in the all at once phase. As a result, the IEA believes that “We are on track to see all fossil fuels peak before 2030”, and even much sooner.

Carbon Brief, a UK-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy, has analyzed closely the entire report and summarizes its findings, and there are really hopeful findings in the entire report:

Global fossil fuel use peaking in 2025, two years earlier than expected last year.

For the first time, coal, oil and gas each peaking before 2030 under current policies.

Fossil fuel peaks being driven by the “unstoppable” growth of low-carbon technologies.

The IEA boosting its outlook for global solar capacity in 2050 by 69% since last year.

The IEA expecting 20% more electric vehicles on the road in 2030 than it did last year.

A key focus on slowing economic growth and faster low-carbon uptake in China, where fossil fuel demand is now expected to peak in 2024.

All of this was unimaginable just a few years ago. And this is quite welcome, but the IEA reminds us that ” Yet climate policies remain far from sufficient to limit warming to 1.5C…” Carbon Brief coming up with this fancy graph :

So yes, there are definitively reasons to hope, and his whole “ beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era” as per the IEA itself is the kind of information that brings the whole divestment movement a new momentum. One should gets their hard earned cash out of fossil fuels companies as fast as one can and invest into alternatives.

As an energy transition professional and a Sustainable MBA, I believe there is much more to our global energy transition than just a few technologies. We need to accelerate on truly transfomative elements such as energy sobriety, alternative mobility solutions (think bikes and ebikes) and new ways of running our societies.

Indeed, current capitalism is not doing us all any good. Systems changes are imperative, not just for our common climate, but also to combat soaring inequalities, biodiversity collapse and so on. But this will be the subject of another post, so stay tuned !

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