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According to the report, the second half of 2021 saw the beginning of the biggest energy crisis in modern history, exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 and unprecedented global commodity shock.
15 Jun 2022 17:58
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A new report has questioned the global commitment to energy transition as it finds that more fossil fuels in form of coal and oil and gas, among others, still dominate the global energy mix.

The Renewables 2022 Global Status Report says that the much-anticipated global clean energy transition is not happening, making it unlikely that the world will be able to meet critical climate goals this decade.

Rana Adib, one of the researchers behind the report released on Wednesday says that although many more governments committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, the reality is that, in response to the energy crisis, most countries have gone back to seeking out new sources of fossil fuels and to burn even more coal, oil, and natural gas.

According to the report, the second half of 2021 saw the beginning of the biggest energy crisis in modern history, exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 and unprecedented global commodity shock. The report published by  REN21 is one of the reputable studies about global renewable energy and is made by some of the leading experts in renewable energy.

The 2022 report is the 17th consecutive edition and provides proof of what experts have been warning about: the overall share of renewables in the world’s final energy consumption has stagnated – rising only minimally from 8.7 per cent in 2009 to 11.7 per cent in 2019 – and the global shift of the energy system to renewables is not happening.

“The old energy regime is collapsing before our eyes – and with it, the global economy,” said Adib. “Yet crisis response and climate goals must not be in conflict. Renewables are the most affordable and best solution to tackle energy price fluctuations. We must boost the share of renewables and make them a priority of economic and industrial policy. We can’t fight fire with more fire.” Said Adib, also REN21 Executive Director.  

The report comes just a day after Chief executives of some of the leading oil producers met in London on Tuesday amidst the global energy crisis resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While REN21’s Renewables 2022 Global Status Report (GSR 2022) says that the transition to renewables has almost stalled with coal, oil, and gas dominating total energy consumption, Oil producers on the other hand said the debate about energy shouldn’t only be climate change. They suggest that conversations about energy transition should include energy security, reliability, and affordability of the price.

"The debate around energy has rebalanced from being largely about climate change which remains imperative, but with the Russian war there is more focus on energy security, reliability, and affordability of price," Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of French major oil company TotalEnergies, said during the Reuters Global Energy Transition 2022 conference held on June 14 in New York City.

Pouyanné and other oil and gas company executives insisted that fossil fuels, especially natural gas, are still needed at a time when global markets grapple with tight energy supplies and skyrocketing prices.

TotalEnergies EP Uganda is the major shareholder in the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the Tilenga project in Albertine. There have been campaigns by climate activists against the funding of EACOP and generally oil and gas. 

The war in Ukraine has affected oil and gas supplies leading to price increases globally. As the war rages, some reports indicate that Oil futures have climbed more than 50 per cent since the beginning of the year. Oil and gas producers are of recent under pressure to produce more to cover the shortage caused by sanctions on Russian oil and gas.

“Many leaders in Europe are asking about energy,” Pouyanné said “We have to build new decarbonized systems while still delivering the energy of today. You can’t pump out oil simply because the governments have said so. Oil development is not a manufacturing plant. But we listened” he said

“Affordability is a fundamental aspect of any energy source. And one can observe that in countries where gas has become too expensive, they switch back to coal,” Pouyanné added

Pouyanné’s suggestion has been echoed by government officials in Uganda and other African countries that have urged better technologies to enable the exploitation of their oil and gas resources as well as protect the climate.  

The GSR 2022 documents that despite renewed commitments to climate action, governments still opted to provide subsidies for fossil fuel production and use as their first choice to mitigate the effects of the energy crisis.

Between 2018 and 2020, governments spent a whopping USD 18 trillion – 7 per cent of global GDP in 2020 – on fossil fuel subsidies, in some cases while reducing support for renewables    For the first time, the GSR 2022 provides a world map of renewable energy shares by country and highlights progress in some of the leading countries