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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new report explores how emerging work patterns created under the pandemic's strain may create important long-term shifts in energy use, but not in ways that significantly change emissions.

Driving the news: The latest multidecade energy outlook from the consultancy DNV provides a look at some new normals around remote labor and virtual services.

  • "The consolidation of using remote communication and digital tools has permanently affected our ways of working and service provision, reducing transport needs in all sectors," they write.

How it works: They see a long-term 5% reduction in workspace demand in developed regions including China, and half that in developing economies.

  • However, they estimate a "small increase" in private cars instead of public transit, and growing demand for suburban and rural homes "will counterbalance the effect of lower frequency of office working, leaving overall car use unchanged."
  • "Residential energy demand in developed regions will thus increase by 4%, half of which arises from bigger dwelling sizes and half from increased requirements for heating and cooling."

The intrigue: The report also projects that new habits will crimp air travel that was initially cut in half by COVID.

  • But the general trend will still be sharply upward, even with long-term business travel 20% lower than under their pre-pandemic forecast.
  • "By 2050, we will see annual global passenger flights growing 130% from 4.4 billion flights in 2019 to 10.2 billion flights in 2050," they note.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

What to know about COP26 in Glasgow

Joe Biden speaks at COP26 on Nov. 1. Photo: Andy Buchanan - Pool/Getty Images

More than 100 world leaders — as well as thousands of diplomats and business leaders — converged on Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31 to try to set new emissions reduction goals at the COP26 climate summit.

The latest: President Biden on Tuesday said that China made a "big mistake" by not showing up to the UN climate summit, adding that Beijing has "lost an ability to influence" other countries as a result.

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.