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15 November 2019

IEA World Energy Outlook predicts challenging road ahead

The International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook, published this week, forecasts energy developments through to 2040 and foresees a tough path to sustainable energy production. The outlook is not, however, without positive predictions, noting that the share of renewables in the world’s energy mix is set to surpass that of coal by 2030 to become the world’s primary source of electricity. However, the decline of coal’s prominence is neither the sole result of the rise of renewable energy, the rise of natural gas helping to take the share of coal down to 34%, nor will it cease the rise of emissions. The IEA predicts that emissions levels will continue to rise for the foreseeable future, at least the next 20 years, given the rising demand for electricity, the increasing proportion of emissions-heavy SUVs in the world’s vehicle makeup, and the shortage of truly renewable energy to respond to the demand. Therefore, while the number of offshore wind power plants is expected to rise markedly, the remaining, younger, coal plants will continue to be a considerable source of energy while natural gas is ramped up to cover the shortfall. The report also notes that Africa’s development path will be a crucial determinant in the coming decades as the continent follows the path of China and other developing regions with a rapidly rising demand for energy creating a market hungry for fast, cheap energy.

Read highlights of the report at the New York Times
Read the full report at the IEA’s website