The Energy Transition, Part 2: The Transition Challenge

Executive summary:

  • Fossil fuels, particularly oil, are difficult to replace due to their availability, affordability and energy density. Low-carbon alternatives, like solar energy, need large amounts of space to produce comparable amounts of energy to oil.
  • A considerable gap currently exists between the world’s present capabilities and what is needed to fully transition away from a fossil-fuel-based economy.
  • The energy transition is not simply an engineering challenge but rather a monumental task that requires the convergence of technological innovation, bold strategic policy and deep coordination.

In our previous article in this three-part series, we examined the economic and social risks that could arise due to the globe’s reliance on fossil fuels, as well as possible interventions to curb the impacts, including an energy transition.

However, transitioning away from fossil fuels toward more sustainable and renewable sources will bring its own challenges.

Fossil fuels remain the backbone of world economic growth and industrial development despite the increasing prominence of green technology and renewable energy. In addition to our energy supply, fossil fuels are used to produce a range of everyday items from smartphones to non-stick cookware and synthetic fabrics.

2021 Energy Consumption Mix