Crux of the Energy Transition: Fossil Fuel Consumption at All-Time High

by | 20. Jun 2024 - 11:01 | Economy

According to an industry report, demand for coal, oil, and other fossil fuels is growing in many regions, even though renewable energies are on the rise.

Global energy consumption and its share of fossil fuels reached an all-time high last year. Emissions in the energy sector have also risen accordingly, the “Statistical Review of World Energy” published Thursday by industry association Energy Institute reveals. Although renewable energies reached a new record high of 15 percent of the global energy mix, the share of fossil fuels remained virtually unchanged due to the steady rise in overall demand, said Simon Virley from the consultancy firm KPMG involved in the study. The authors added that this could be a crucial point in the transition to a lower-carbon energy supply. However, the use of fossil fuels differs from region to region. In Europe, for example, their share of the energy supply has fallen below 70 percent for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.

In many countries in the so-called global South, on the other hand, economic development and improvements in the quality of life are driving the growth of fossil fuels, explains Nick Wayth, Managing Director of the Energy Institute. India’s coal consumption, for example, has exceeded that of Europe and North America combined. Fossil fuel consumption in China also grew by six percent to a new high. At the same time, the People’s Republic accounted for more than half of the global expansion of renewable energies in 2023.

Energy Sector Central to Climate Targets

Other analyses, such as that of the International Energy Agency (IEA), have also identified a growing share of renewable energies, but the expansion must be further accelerated, according to the agency. The energy sector is currently the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and is central to the transition to net zero emissions.

Obstacles include supply bottlenecks and price increases for the critical raw materials required, such as lithium and rare earths, whose production is highly concentrated geographically. Although the Energy Institute notes in its report that prices for many metals and materials have fallen again since their peak in 2022, they are still above the level of 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo: iStock/BobGrif

The Magnetics Show USA 2024 advert