Published for the fifth year running, TotalEnergies has released its Energy Outlook 2023.
Analysis of the 2000-2021 period shows that the energy transition has started but is not progressing fast enough: over this period, better use of energy has led to decoupling energy demand growth from GDP growth; however, the share of fossil fuels in energy is still around 80%, as growth in energy demand is linked to growth in the world’s population, and i – Images: Resources for the to meet this demand growth.
TotalEnergies Outlook 2023 distinguishes three geographical zones: NZ50 countries, the forty countries (mainly from the OECD) that have committed to achieving net carbon neutrality by 2050; China; and Global South, the rest of the world. According to demographic forecasts, the world’s population will increase by 1.7 billion between now and 2050 in Global South. Living standards are expected to more than double in Global South, and energy demand to rise by more than 70%, while it will remain stable in China and fall by 20% in NZ50 countries. Between now and 2050, the challenge will be to reconcile the energy transition with this growth in Global South.
The main findings of the TotalEnergies Energy Outlook 2023 are as follows:
The energy transition has started, but 2022 saw a further increase in energy-related CO2 emissions. Despite their commitments, many NZ50 countries continue to burn coal to generate electricity, producing ~2 Gt of CO2 emissions (some even increased their coal-fired electricity generation in 2022).
The pace and scale of deployment of the new low-carbon energy system needs to be significantly accelerated:
promote better use of energy and massive progress in energy efficiency,
accelerate the increase in investment in clean energy worldwide, not just in OECD countries,
and finally, that the developed economies commit to fully support the Global South’s transition (through financial, technological, and skills transfers).
Another challenge is to reduce fossil fuel consumption at the right pace:
In Global South, fossil fuels remain an affordable solution for providing growing populations with access to energy, and therefore greater prosperity.
In NZ50 countries, an accelerated transition means retiring existing assets at country, industry, and household levels, and investing in new low-carbon assets.
The transition will not take place without social acceptability (both between North and South and within NZ50 countries) and without genuine efforts in terms of climate justice.
In the short term, no-regrets actions are:
phase-out coal from the electricity mix in NZ50 countries,
invest massively in electricity networks and adapt them to the complexity of the low-carbon electricity system, tend towards elimination of methane emissions from fossil fuel production processes,
decarbonize road transport, and support the energy transition in the Global South through North-South financing, technology transfer and training.
(Source: TotalEnergies – Image: Resources for the future)