Renewables are getting cheaper, but fossil fuels are still more lucrative. To reach net zero, we’ll need radical intervention
Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s leading energy authority, laid bare the scale of the challenge in keeping the world on track to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050: a massive acceleration in renewable energy development and, starkly, no new oil, gas or coal development. None.
For as long as coal remained cheapest, the IEA consistently predicted that it would continue to be the dominant energy source in electricity generation. Now that renewables, and solar in particular, generate electricity as cheaply – and often cheaper – than hydrocarbons, the IEA considers a rapid energy transition more achievable. It finds encouragement in the cost of the respective energy types: in economic terms, the IEA’s is a “cost-centric” worldview.