World on Course to be Powered 85% by Fossil Fuels in 2050

Scott Smithson/CC BY-ND 2.0

We've done so little to reform global energy production—or even to plant the seeds needed to do so meaningfully—that the world is still on course to rely 85% on fossil fuels for its energy needs. That's the finding of a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and it also includes the finding that we'll be generating 50% more greenhouse gas emissions as a result.

Here's the New York Times:

The global economy in 2050 will be four times larger than today and the world will use around 80 percent more energy. But the global energy mix is not predicted to be very different from that of today, the report said.

Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas will make up 85 percent of energy sources. Renewables, including biofuels, are forecast to make up 10 percent and nuclear the rest.

Because of such dependence on fossil fuels, carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are expected to grow by 70 percent, the O.E.C.D. said, which will help drive up the global average temperature by 3 to 6 degrees Celsius by 2100 — exceeding the warming limit of within 2 degrees agreed to by international bodies.

85/15 is depressing. That is literally the opposite of what every single human being who doesn't want to live in a chaotic, extreme weather-racked world should hope the energy mix will look like 40 years from now.

But we're on an explosive trajectory set by the last six decades of energy consumption—and turning that trajectory around will undoubtedly continue to be the most difficult project of the 21st century.

Tags: Energy

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