IEA report: Nuclear needed for sustainable energy goals

October 15, 2020, 7:16AMNuclear News

The International Energy Agency released its annual World Energy Outlook on October 13, noting the massive disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and calling for a surge in well-designed energy policies to put the world on track for a resilient energy system that can meet climate goals.

According to the latest IEA analysis of the pandemic’s impact, drops are expected in 2020 in global energy demand by 5 percent, energy-related CO2 emissions by 7 percent, and energy investment by 18 percent. This year’s report focuses on the pivotal period of the next 10 years, exploring four different pathways out of the crisis.

More information on the report is available here. The full publication can be purchased for €120 (about $140).


The Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS), in which COVID-19 is gradually brought under control in 2021 and the global economy returns to pre-crisis levels the same year, reflects all of today’s announced policy intentions and targets, insofar as they are backed up by detailed measures for their realization.

■ The Delayed Recovery Scenario is designed with the same policy assumptions as in STEPS, but a prolonged pandemic causes lasting damage to economic prospects. The global economy returns to its pre-crisis size only in 2023, and the pandemic ushers in a decade with the lowest rate of energy-demand growth since the 1930s.

■ In the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), a surge in clean energy policies and investment puts the energy system on track to achieve sustainable energy objectives in full, including the Paris Agreement, energy access, and air quality goals. The assumptions on public health and the economy are the same as in the STEPS. As well as rapid growth of solar, wind, and energy efficiency technologies, the next 10 years would see a major scaling up of hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization and storage, and new momentum behind nuclear power.

■ The new Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE2050) extends the SDS analysis. A rising number of countries and companies are targeting net-zero emissions, typically by mid-century. All of these are achieved in the SDS, putting global emissions on track for net zero by 2070. The NZE2050 includes the first detailed IEA modeling of what would be needed in the next 10 years to put global CO2 emissions on track for net zero by 2050.

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