'Almost no progress' towards sustainable energy systems globally – WEF

26th March 2019

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  • Sustainability


Aston Howes

Global energy systems are less affordable and no more environmentally sustainable today than they were five years ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned.

In a report published yesterday, the WEF highlighted continued coal use in Asia, increasing commodity prices, and slower than needed improvements in energy intensity as reasons for the lack of progress.

This is despite access to energy improving substantially in recent years, with less than one billion people currently living without electricity.

The WEF called for “urgent action“ from governments and businesses to improve affordability and sustainability so that energy systems are safeguarded for future generations.

“Solid progress in bringing energy within the reach of more and more people is not enough to mask wider failures, which are already having an impact on our climate and on our societies,“ WEF executive committee member, Roberto Bocca, said.

The report also includes an 'Energy Transition Index', which measures countries' readiness for sustainable systems based on six key indicators, such as investment and political commitment.

Smaller countries scored highest in terms of readiness, with the UK the only G7 economy in the top 10, and all of them were from Western Europe except for Singapore.

But the WEF said this is the biggest obstacle to future-proofing energy systems, with the top 10 most prepared countries only accounting for 2.6% of global annual emissions.

Despite this, China and India score much better for readiness than they do for their energy systems' current performance, which suggests “an enabling environment is being built to support future transition“.

The research came just before the International Energy Agency revealed that CO2 emissions, fossil fuel demand, and coal power generation all increased last year.

“Critical measures to accelerate energy transition include decoupling economic growth from energy consumption, mainstreaming technological innovations, and addressing equity and justice,“ the WEF said.

“Given the interconnectedness of the energy system throughout economic, social, and political systems, there is greater need than ever for different stakeholder groups to seek common understanding.“


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