The world has missed an opportunity to speed up the transition from fossil fuel to renewables as economic recovery packages aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 have entrenched the existing system, global energy consultancy DNV said on Tuesday.
The Norway-based firm, which last year forecast oil demand had likely peaked in 2019 thanks to travel restrictions and other means to curb the virus, said its prediction had since become less certain, reports Reuters.
"From an energy transition perspective, the pandemic has been a lost opportunity," DNV Chief Executive Remi Eriksen said. "Recovery packages have largely focused on protecting rather than transforming existing industries." Progress in reducing emissions from hard-to-abate sectors, such as heavy industry, which are responsible for around a quarter of all emissions, was stubbornly slow, DNV said.
Energy-related greenhouse gas emissions were expected to rise by 3 per cent in 2021 from the last year, when they fell about 6%, it said. The use of crude oil was set to grow until the middle of the current decade, DNV said, but it was not clear if it would climb back to pre-pandemic levels, the consultancy said.
"Our forecast demand (for oil) between 2019 and 2025 differs by just 1 per cent," DNV wrote. Oil demand would again decline after 2025 along with an expected rise in sales of electric cars and was expected to be 45 per cent lower by 2050, it added. Gas demand, however, was seen to be down by only 10 per cent by the same time.
It said the total share of fossil fuels, including coal, in the global energy mix was expected to fall to 50 per cent by 2050 from around 80 per cent today, saying this was a testament to the inertia of fossil energy in an era of decarbonisation.