Oct 15, 2019

With incomes rising, IMF says peak energy consumption remains far off

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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New climate consensus moves forward without the U.S.

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos by Win McNamee, Alex Wong, Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Corbis, Oliver Douliery/AFP, and Noam Galai Via Getty Images

The world's top economic institutions are going deeper in the fight against climate change, and central banks are re-evaluating policies and pushing new principles to integrate climate-related risks into financial supervision, leaving the U.S. behind.

On one side: The effects of climate change are everywhere, European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane said during the IMF's fall meetings last week.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019

11,000 scientists urge action on global "climate emergency"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some 11,000 scientists labeled climate change as an "emergency" for the first time in a report released Tuesday.

Driving the news: By a slim margin, last month was the warmest October ever recorded, new data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service shows. It was only 0.01°C warmer than October 2015 — the second warmest on record — and 0.09°C warmer than October 2017, per the report.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

The mammoth gap between energy trends and climate goals

Climate protestors outside Congress. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Existing and announced policies worldwide won't be nearly enough to rein in carbon emissions, despite the strong growth of climate-friendly energy sources, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

Why it matters: The IEA's annual World Energy Outlook reports are among the most prominent attempts to model where energy systems are headed in the decades ahead. These big and data-rich studies (this year's weighs in at 810 pages) are widely cited by policymakers, analysts and other stakeholders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 13, 2019