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Clean energy works well, but not fast enough to solve global warming



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WASHINGTON – Over the next two decades, the world's energy system will undergo a tremendous transformation. Wind and solar energy become dominant sources of electricity. China's relentless appetite for coal will abate. The amount of oil we use to fuel our cars could peak and fall.

But there is a catch: the global march towards cleaner energy is still not fast enough to avoid dangerous global warming, at least not unless governments start vigorously with measures to reduce carbon emissions.

This is the conclusion of the International Energy Agency, which released its annual World Energy Outlook on Monday, a 661-page report forecasting global energy trends by 2040. These forecasts are particularly difficult right now, as the global energy markets usually do this step by step, undergoing major upheavals.

Here are some of the main topics of the report:

Worldwide, the electricity sector is experiencing its most dramatic transformation since its creation more than a century ago, "the report says. An important factor is the rapid growth of wind and solar energy.

Even as the world puts hundreds of millions of new cars on the road, we use less and less oil to fuel them. The report projects that global oil consumption for cars will peak in the mid-2020s as countries increase their fuel efficiency standards and use more electric vehicles.

However, this does not mean that overall oil consumption will decrease. Only about a quarter of the world's oil is used for refueling passenger cars. The remainder is used to refuel trucks, ships and aircraft. for heating; and produce plastics and other petrochemicals.

The same efficiency gains were not seen in these sectors The Agency therefore expects global oil demand to continue rising until 2040, led by developing countries.

Even with the impressive recent increases in renewable energy, the world is still far from solving global warming. Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.6 percent last year and are well on track to rise again this year . The report estimates that emissions will rise slowly by 2040.

One reason: Carbon-free sources such as wind, solar and nuclear power are not growing fast enough to keep up with global demand for energy, especially in India like India and Southeast Asia. This means that the consumption of fossil fuels continues to grow to fill the gap.

For this to change, nations need to take comprehensive policy measures, such as investing in energy efficiency, to slow down demand growth, reduce methane leakage in oil and gas operations, and develop carbon dioxide capture technology for existing power plants and cement factories fossil fuels.

Governments will play a key role: the report states that the world invests $ 2 trillion in energy infrastructure annually, and 70 percent of these are government-led or business-led regulators. "That tells me that our energy destiny will depend heavily on government decisions over the next two decades," Birol said.

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