People pass in front of the IMF building during the IMF and World Bank fall meetings in Washington, D.C., Oct. 15. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Contributor/Getty Images

The world is nowhere near reaching peak levels of energy consumption, judging by low income levels in some of the fastest-growing cities and countries around the globe, an International Monetary Fund panel indicated on Tuesday.

Driving the news: IMF researchers Christian Bogmans and Lama Kiyasseh found that once a nation’s average annual income reaches a certain level — $55,000 — the country hits what is called an energy saturation point, and thereafter, the growth of energy consumption begins to fall.

Why it matters: Most scientists agree the world must rapidly cut greenhouse gases emitted from our energy consumption — mostly oil, natural gas and coal — to effectively tackle climate change.

  • While energy saturation is slowing the pace of heat-trapping emissions, "it will not be enough in the fight against climate change," Kiyasseh said during a panel at the IMF's fall meetings in Washington.
  • "Unless there is a break from past trends, then more urgent climate goals are needed," she added.

Yes, but: Still-growing nations, particularly in Asia and Africa, are looking to increase the standards of living — and thus incomes — of their populations.

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