The world faces one of the biggest crises in civilization’s history. Apart from being dangerous to human health and even deadly, the coronavirus caused other unforeseen consequences. One of the effects of COVID-19 is linked to humankind’s energy demand, which reached the most significant shock since WWII.
According to a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the COVID-19 pandemic shifted energy use from coal to renewables at a much faster rate, at least in Europe. The Old Continent saw an unusually high reduction in coal use.
IEA predicts a reduction of CO2 emissions of 8% at the end of the year, which will be by far the most significant in recent years. To put things into perspective, carbon emissions rose by 1% annually in the last decade. Zero growth was only observed the previous year.
In terms of energy demand, the world will use 6% less this year. This might not sound like much until you learn that this is the same as the total use of energy in India. Also, the 6% reduction is seven times higher than the drop during the 2008 global financial crisis.
Noteworthy, developed countries see a larger decline in energy use, probably due to the closure of manufacturing facilities. By the end of 2020, the energy consumption of the USA is expected to fall 9% or 115 for the European Union.
“This is a historic shock to the entire energy world. Amid today’s unparalleled health and economic crises, the plunge in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for coal, oil, and gas. Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard-of slump in electricity use,” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director.
According to Dr. Fatih, it’s too early to predict the long-term impacts of the pandemic on the energy sector, “but the energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before.”