Economic growth in the developing world combined with rising population trends mean that global energy demand could double or triple by 2050, putting a growing strain on the earth’s climate.
By 2050, global energy demand could double or triple as populations rise and developing countries expand their economies, a new report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has warned.
If these trends are not curbed, global temperatures could rise by one to four degrees by the end of the century, leading to disruptive consequences to the earth’s climate, says the new report by WBCSD “Facts and trends to 2050 – Energy and climate change”.
The report considers the technological and policy options needed to overcome the threat of climate change but warns that it will take time to implement them at global level.
Presenting the report at the World Energy Congress in Sydney, Australia, Anne Lauvergeon, Chairman of the Executive Board, AREVA, and a co-chair of the WBCSD’s Energy and Climate programme, explained that the pace of change in the energy cycle is slow. “It is like a super-tanker,” she said. “It takes time to change direction, so you must anticipate, otherwise the consequences may spiral out of control.”
The report advocates a “decoupling of the current direct link between standards of living and energy consumption” as a reduction in growth is “not an acceptable path”. It says a stabilisation in CO2 emissions responsible for climate change would require a “step change (r)evolution in our energy infrastructure” based on resources and technologies such as:
- A further shift to natural gas
- An increased use of nuclear energy
- Biofuels and biomass
- Carbon capture and storage
- Large-scale public transportation and low emissions/clean road transport
- Energy-efficiency measures
- LinksDossier: Energy Outlook
- Commission, DG Research: World energy, technology and climate policy outlook 2030 (WETO) (2003) [FR] [DE]
- International Energy Agency: World Energy Outlook
- World Energy Council: Global Energy Scenarios to 2050 and beyond
- United Nations: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
EU Actors’ positions:
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Energy 2050: which options for change? (press release, 6 Sept. 2004)
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Facts and trends to 2050 – Energy and climate change (6 Sept. 2004)