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Energy fossil fuel will dominate energy use through 2050  globally  | Upload General

Fossil Fuel Will Dominate Energy Use Through 2050: Globally

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by: Sharai Hoekema
fossil fuel will dominate energy use through 2050  globally  | Upload

Very few topics are garnering as much attention in the context of initiatives to combat global warming as clean energy. And the signs are definitely promising. Renewable energy initiatives are popping up left and right, using pretty much all of the ‘clean’ elements that our earth has to offer - from wind, water and sun to the breeze generated by the London Underground.

Some Scandinavian countries are ambitiously agreeing on targets to have all of their country’s energy use be derived from renewable sources, while corporations and institutions left and right are pledging to reduce their fossil fuel production and/or use drastically, in favour of more sustainable alternatives.

Climate neutral countries

Although those who take the time to read the ‘finer print’ on those pledges will be quick to find out that this is far from straightforward. In fact, Sweden - the first nation to become fossil-fuel free, if all goes well - has given itself a somewhat lengthy timeline: the goal is to be climate neutral by 2045, and fossil-fuel free by the time 2050 rolls around.

Let’s digest that for a second. That is still more than 3 decades away - decades that are, if we are to believe the scientists, decisive for the future of mankind and, by extension, our planet. And this is one of the world’s most progressive, innovative countries talking, who already rely heavily on renewable energy sources. 

If they, who already generate more than half of their energy needs from renewable sources today, need thirty-something years to ‘turn the tide’, so to speak… Well, one can only guess how much time other nations, still heavily dependant upon their coal and other ‘dirty’ energy sources, will need to do the same.

Multi-faceted problem

Admittedly, the problem at hand is complicated. This is not something that is ‘easily solved’, nor is there a ‘quick fix’. Actually, we’ve gotten to this stage because of two undeniable trends. 

First, the global demand for energy continues to grow - albeit at a slightly lower rate than before, for reasons I’ll get into later. Fact remains that the world’s population is still growing and welfare is on the rise, meaning that more people will be connected to power than ever before. This growing demand puts an enormous strain on producers to deliver more energy, preferably at a lower cost.

At a first glance, it sounds like good news that the growth in demand is slowing somewhat. The slowing population growth and economic growth are a large part of this trend - combined with more digitisation and a greater energy efficiency. People tend to be more conscious about the use of energy, while digitisation can replace certain travel or production needs. 

Rise of renewable sources

So far, so good - while we still require more energy year after year, the slower growth is allowing production to catch up with it in the next decades. Secondly, there’s a significant difference in the growth rate between demand for electricity and demand for transport - which has historically been the largest energy user. Instead, the need for electricity will be making up a quarter of the total energy demand of the world by 2050, compared to 18 percent today. This means that new renewable sources will have to be used more, mainly wind and solar - alongside the wide range of renewable fuel options like hydrogen used for transport purposes.

The share of wind and solar power is, in fact, expected to grow up to five times faster than any other source of power. Non-hydro renewables will, by 2050, make up more than a third of the global power generated. Once again, a positive trend, pointing at a growing reliance on renewable sources instead of fossil fuels.

2050 on the horizon

There is a painful little side note, though. ‘2050’ keeps on popping up, as a far-away target that most of us will be happy to work towards; yet that is far away enough to be brushed off when deemed inconvenient. Because the main issue seems obvious: the world needs more energy. And for the time being, demand still far exceeds sustainable supply, meaning that something - in this case fossil fuels - is required to bridge the gap. 

This leads to another undeniable conclusion, being that fossil fuels are likely to dominate the global energy market for decades to come - at least until we get to 2050. Producers and corporations are quick to reason it away, by stating that massive investments have already been made. And because of the reliability of and heavy dependance upon this energy source, the market is hesitant to abruptly move away to much newer sources.

Time is running out

Yet the world needs more than ‘we will get rid of fossil fuels around 2050’. The cold hard truth is that the emission of energy-related greenhouse gasses will continue to rise over the next decades, up to a growth of some 14 percent by 2040. This is definitely not helping us in limiting the warming of our planet to two degrees; the critical threshold as set by experts. 

Graphic oil consumption by region

And yes, eventually those emissions will level off and drop - projections say this will be around 2035. Not only will this serve as the turning point of renewable energy overtaking fossil fuels, it also marks the start of an era of greater energy efficiency. 

The road ahead seems obvious. We will, eventually, be able to get rid of fossil fuels for our energy needs altogether. The figurative finger, however, must be kept on the pulse at all times: the growing world population and corresponding growing demand for energy will have to be managed carefully; and balanced with technological development and a relentless focus on renewable energy to keep our focus clear: minimising the effects of global warming.

We will have to keep on walking the talk, so to speak, if we are to cut out fossil fuels for good and discourage any new investments in this polluting industry. Sweden goes first, but other countries should be quick to jump the bandwagon and make similar pledges sooner rather than later.

https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy

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Fossil Fuel Will Dominate Energy Use Through 2050: Globally

Very few topics are garnering as much attention in the context of initiatives to combat global warming as clean energy. And the signs are definitely promising. Renewable energy initiatives are popping up left and right, using pretty much all of the ‘clean’ elements that our earth has to offer - from wind, water and sun to the breeze generated by the London Underground. Some Scandinavian countries are ambitiously agreeing on targets to have all of their country’s energy use be derived from renewable sources, while corporations and institutions left and right are pledging to reduce their fossil fuel production and/or use drastically, in favour of more sustainable alternatives. Climate neutral countries Although those who take the time to read the ‘finer print’ on those pledges will be quick to find out that this is far from straightforward. In fact, Sweden - the first nation to become fossil-fuel free, if all goes well - has given itself a somewhat lengthy timeline: the goal is to be climate neutral by 2045, and fossil-fuel free by the time 2050 rolls around. Let’s digest that for a second. That is still more than 3 decades away - decades that are, if we are to believe the scientists, decisive for the future of mankind and, by extension, our planet. And this is one of the world’s most progressive, innovative countries talking, who already rely heavily on renewable energy sources.   If they, who already generate more than half of their energy needs from renewable sources today, need thirty-something years to ‘turn the tide’, so to speak… Well, one can only guess how much time other nations, still heavily dependant upon their coal and other ‘dirty’ energy sources, will need to do the same. Multi-faceted problem Admittedly, the problem at hand is complicated. This is not something that is ‘easily solved’, nor is there a ‘quick fix’. Actually, we’ve gotten to this stage because of two undeniable trends.   First, the global demand for energy continues to grow - albeit at a slightly lower rate than before, for reasons I’ll get into later. Fact remains that the world’s population is still growing and welfare is on the rise, meaning that more people will be connected to power than ever before. This growing demand puts an enormous strain on producers to deliver more energy, preferably at a lower cost. At a first glance, it sounds like good news that the growth in demand is slowing somewhat. The slowing population growth and economic growth are a large part of this trend - combined with more digitisation and a greater energy efficiency. People tend to be more conscious about the use of energy, while digitisation can replace certain travel or production needs.   Rise of renewable sources So far, so good - while we still require more energy year after year, the slower growth is allowing production to catch up with it in the next decades. Secondly, there’s a significant difference in the growth rate between demand for electricity and demand for transport - which has historically been the largest energy user. Instead, the need for electricity will be making up a quarter of the total energy demand of the world by 2050, compared to 18 percent today. This means that new renewable sources will have to be used more, mainly wind and solar - alongside the wide range of renewable fuel options like hydrogen used for transport purposes. The share of wind and solar power is, in fact, expected to grow up to five times faster than any other source of power. Non-hydro renewables will, by 2050, make up more than a third of the global power generated. Once again, a positive trend, pointing at a growing reliance on renewable sources instead of fossil fuels. 2050 on the horizon There is a painful little side note, though. ‘2050’ keeps on popping up, as a far-away target that most of us will be happy to work towards; yet that is far away enough to be brushed off when deemed inconvenient. Because the main issue seems obvious: the world needs more energy. And for the time being, demand still far exceeds sustainable supply, meaning that something - in this case fossil fuels - is required to bridge the gap.   This leads to another undeniable conclusion, being that fossil fuels are likely to dominate the global energy market for decades to come - at least until we get to 2050. Producers and corporations are quick to reason it away, by stating that massive investments have already been made. And because of the reliability of and heavy dependance upon this energy source, the market is hesitant to abruptly move away to much newer sources. Time is running out Yet the world needs more than ‘we will get rid of fossil fuels around 2050’. The cold hard truth is that the emission of energy-related greenhouse gasses will continue to rise over the next decades, up to a growth of some 14 percent by 2040. This is definitely not helping us in limiting the warming of our planet to two degrees; the critical threshold as set by experts.   And yes, eventually those emissions will level off and drop - projections say this will be around 2035. Not only will this serve as the turning point of renewable energy overtaking fossil fuels, it also marks the start of an era of greater energy efficiency.   The road ahead seems obvious. We will, eventually, be able to get rid of fossil fuels for our energy needs altogether. The figurative finger, however, must be kept on the pulse at all times: the growing world population and corresponding growing demand for energy will have to be managed carefully; and balanced with technological development and a relentless focus on renewable energy to keep our focus clear: minimising the effects of global warming . We will have to keep on walking the talk, so to speak, if we are to cut out fossil fuels for good and discourage any new investments in this polluting industry. Sweden goes first, but other countries should be quick to jump the bandwagon and make similar pledges sooner rather than later. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy