Energy powers economic growth, raising living standards and lifting millions from poverty. Demand for energy is increasing, but so are the global environmental stresses linked to meeting this demand: rising CO2 emissions and pressure on natural resources, such as .
Increasing global population and rapid economic growth in the developing world are driving the surge in energy demand. China has now overtaken the USA as the world’s largest consumer of energy. By 2050 there are expected to be around 9 billion people, over 2 billion more than today. Energy demand by then could have doubled, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
A transition to a sustainable energy system is beginning, but it will take decades. Fossil fuels provide around 80% of the world’s energy today and they are expected to remain the cornerstone of the global energy system for many years to come. Even with continued long-term government support, renewables and nuclear power may account for around a third of the global energy mix by mid-century. New technologies can take 30 years to achieve just 1% of the global market – wind power, for instance, is expected to achieve this point in the next few years.