WBCSD warns energy use could triple by 2050

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has warned that energy demand could triple by 2050 as a result of population growth and the expansion of developing countries economies.

The warning comes in a new report, Facts and Trends to 2050: Energy and climate change, launched this week at the World Energy Congress in Sydney, Australia. It explores the challenges in achieving sustainable energy systems for the future, and highlights the magnitude of the dilemmas facing society and business today.

Speaking at the event, Anne Lauvergeon, co-chair of the WBCSD’s Energy and Climate programme, explained the pace of change in the energy cycle is slow: “It is like a super tanker. It takes time to change direction, so you must anticipate, otherwise the consequences may spiral out of control.”

The report states that the key to the developing world improving its living standards, without uncontrollable rises in emissions, is in energy efficiency, diversity and technological development in energy systems. It points to signs of change such as increased use of lower carbon fuels, the introduction of advanced forms of renewable energy and high efficiency vehicles as positive developments.

Lauvergeon concluded the launch by saying that the report was meant to serve as a platform to engage a broad set of stakeholders in a discussion about the dilemmas and options surrounding energy and climate change.

“Our intent was to lay out the facts in terms that everyone can relate to, and one of our key messages is that we have the means to act, but we need to start today to make a difference in 2050,” she said.

By David Hopkins

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