Could the world be sustainable with less efficiency and more GHG emissions?

One week after the publication of the IPCC report on the 1.5°C target, the International Energy Agency released its flagship energy efficiency publication entitled “Energy Efficiency 2018 – Analysis and Outlook to 2040”.

In the foreword of the publication, Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol claims, rightly, that “this year’s report is the most comprehensive analysis of current and future energy efficiency trends produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA). It incorporates a new Efficient World Scenario based on analysis from the IEA World Energy Outlook. This scenario answers the question of what would happen if countries realised all the available cost-effective energy efficiency potential between now and 2040.”

EiD started digging deeper into the IEA 2018 Efficient World Scenario. Surprisingly, global energy demand in the IEA 2018 Efficient World Scenario is higher than the global primary energy demand in the IEA 2017 Sustainable Development Scenario from the 2017 WEO as shown in the figure below for the years for which information is provided in the IEA report.

In fact, the IEA projects global primary energy demand to be 14,593 Mtoe in 2030 in the 2018 Efficient World Scenario while it was projected to be 13,836 Mtoe in the 2017 Sustainable Development Scenario. Similarly, the global primary energy demand is projected to be in 2040 at 14,921 Mtoe in the Efficient World scenario against 14,084 Mtoe in the Sustainable Development Scenario.

The IEA report states, rightly, that “aggressive efficiency improvements will be crucial to limit global warming”. The agency endorses the conclusions of the IPCC 1.5°C report regarding the crucial role of energy efficiency in most of the IPCC GHG emissions pathways aiming at limiting global warming to 1.5°C. However, GHG emissions in the 2018 Efficient World Scenario are higher than those in the 2017 Sustainable Development Scenario as shown in the figure below for the years for which information is provided in the IEA report.

In fact, global energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to be in 2040 at 29,000 Mt (CO2) in the Efficient World Scenario while they are projected to be in the Sustainable Development Scenario at 18,310 Mt (CO2) in 2040, 25,146 Mt (CO2) in 2030 and 28,799 Mt (CO2) in 2025.

Obviously, energy demand and emissions reduction in the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario are not driven by efficiency improvement as they are both much lower than those in the Efficient World Scenario.

EiD is hoping the IEA will clarify, at its Energy Efficiency Global Forum this week, how the world could be sustainable with less efficiency and more GHG emissions despite the opposite claims from the IPCC and the international scientific community!

 

 

One thought on “Could the world be sustainable with less efficiency and more GHG emissions?

  1. Emerging systems and turbomachinery based on supercritical carbon dioxide as the working fluid, it is possible to retrofit existing thermoelectric power plants with these system replacing the steam cycle. Operating efficiencies of existing plants worldwide can be increased by 25% or more with these systems. Check out my latest blog article on this topic if interested in learning more….
    https://duanetilden.com/2018/10/27/supercritical-carbon-dioxide-a-plan-to-eliminate-25-of-existing-power-plants/

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