The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its Energy Transition Index (ETI) report for 2020, which sheds light on the energy system performance and clean energy transition readiness of 115 countries.
The report found that while there have been improvements in energy systems in many countries, they have not been consistent across countries over time. Only 94 of the 115 countries have improved their ETI score in the last six years. These countries represent over 70% of the global population and 70% of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.
This attests to the overall positive trajectory of the global energy transition, although progress is not smooth and pockets of underperformance exist, WEF noted.
India’s rank now stands at 74, up two places from 76 in 2019. The report noted that India was one of the countries that made consistent and measurable progress in its energy transition in the last six years. Other countries that achieved this are Argentina, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Italy, the Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine.
The report stated that emerging energy demand centers like India and China have been able to perform better in their energy transition process with strong and steady improvement. Countries like Brazil, Canada, Iran, and the United States were either stagnant or declining.
Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland were the top three countries according to the WEF’s Index. The report said that its top 10 list had remained roughly the same over the last six years. It, however, noted that countries at the bottom of the list are gradually catching up with countries at the top. It said this highlighted the fact that the policies of countries at the top were only seeing marginal improvements and that there was a need for a revamp.
The report also talked about the impact of the global coronavirus crisis on global energy systems and the energy transition process. It said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the loss of almost a third of global energy demand, oil price instability – which brought along its own set of consequences, the delay or stalling of investments and projects. It has affected the employment of millions in the energy sector.
The economic downturn, growth of the renewable sector, and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic have achieved what was earlier thought impossible. A combination of these factors has led to a year-on-year reduction in CO2 emissions for the first time in four decades, according to an analysis by the environmental website Carbon Brief. The fall in CO2 emission levels has been steep in March because of the stringent lockdown measures put in by the government to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, in March, CO2 emissions fell by an estimated 15% and is expected to have fallen by 30% in April. These huge numbers speak volumes about the global impact of the pandemic on CO2 emissions.
“The new Earth 2.0 that will emerge after COVID‑19 will be a new normal, but many fundamental challenges will still exist. Chief among them is imperative to collectively work towards an effective and inclusive energy transition,” said Roberto Bocca, head of shaping the future of energy and materials, WEF.
The report concluded that the current crisis presents an opportunity for policymakers, private-sector entities and civil society groups, and consumers across the world to focus on the right areas to speed up the pace of global transition to cleaner energy sources to a large extent.
Renewable energy is the fastest-growing source of energy, accounting for around half of the increase in energy and is set to penetrate the global energy system more quickly than any fuel in history, according to BP Energy Outlook. The report said that in an evolving transition scenario, renewables would account for around two-thirds of the increase in power generation, with their share in the global power sector increasing to around 30% by 2040.
Nithin is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.