Energy Consultant, Former CEO of Vestas: EV & Renewable Energy Trends Not Enough To Achieve Paris Climate Change Goals

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Electric vehicle and renewable energy technologies aren’t enough on their own to give countries a means of achieving the goals of the Paris climate change accord, according to the CEO of DNV GL’s energy consulting business, Ditlev Engel.

This is despite the fact that the CEO predicts that the cost of electric vehicles (EVs) will rapidly drop over the coming years, reaching parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2022. That accompanies the assertion that half of all passenger vehicles sold globally will be electric by the year 2035.

“The trends are very clear that the world is electrifying, renewables are taking up more space, we’re moving into a world of EVs, but we have to remember we are racing against the clock. It’s not enough,” stated Engel.

Those reading this will probably recall that the Paris climate agreement calls for anthropogenic global warming to be limited to well under 2° Celsius (by 2100). The agreement isn’t binding though, as you’ll probably also recall, so is simply a pledge that will likely not be taken too seriously by many governments. (Edit: As James Wimberley notes in the comments below, “the procedural parts and the goals are binding commitments of international treaty law. These obligations include the submission of a national mitigation and abatement plan. The content of these plans is up to each government.” Whether those plans together will eventually be adequate to keep warming to well under 2° Celsius is a matter still open for debate.)

Commenting on what should be done in order to achieve the goal, Engel said: “Anything you can substitute today, you’ve got to accelerate. The speed of implementation must be even faster and this can only happen if the public and private sectors coordinate.”

Reuters provides more: “DNV GL expects energy demand will peak around 2030 due to more efficient use and slower population and productivity growth, it said in its first report assessing the impact of the transition toward greater electrification.

“Growing electricity production will be the main driver for more efficient energy use as consumers move away from low-efficiency fossil fuels, with power output expected to soar by 140 percent by the middle of the century. As a result, renewable energy sources will account for 85 percent of global electricity production by 2050, DNV GL forecasts.

“Despite the rise in renewable energy, it is gas that will overtake oil as the world’s biggest energy source by 2034, the consultancy said, a trend that is reflected in an investment shift at major oil companies toward new gas projects. This thinking underpinned, for example, Royal Dutch Shell’s $54 billion takeover of BG Group last year.”

Overall, Engel’s take on things sounds pretty believable. It should always be remembered, though, that predictions that concern things more than just a few years into the future usually end up being either only partly true or not very true at all. I guess that we’ll have to wait to see happens…

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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