Pressure on global energy crisis deepens with population growth

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Oct 22, 2021, 01:44 PM(IST)

Solar panels (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

With the global population expected to increase by 2 billion in the next two decades, electricity generation is estimated to increase by almost 49 per cent by the year 2040

In the world we live, energy is required for almost everything, from powering your car to keeping the lights on in your home. As the population soars unsustainably, so does the energy demand.

With the global population expected to increase by 2 billion in the next two decades, electricity generation is estimated to increase by almost 49 per cent by the year 2040.

Also read | 'India addressing climate change issue efficiently' 

For 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates a growth of 4.6 per cent, with more than two-thirds of the current increase in demand coming from developing economies, with a significant increase in the demand for fossil fuels. 

Reports also suggest that the demand for coal alone is projected to increase by almost 60 per cent.

The truth is that most of the world's population does not have access to sufficient energy to meet even the most basic human needs – this is unfair.

Also read | Overpopulation and human greed, the two enemies of biodiversity

Non-renewables, energy production, and population pressure

 Typically, developing countries have the highest population growth rates. As they are also the ones who struggle the most in adopting renewable energy.

Non-renewable resources have been the focal point of producing energy worldwide for centuries. They make up more than 80 per cent of global energy production.

Experts believe we may soon hit peak oil, and that the remaining oil there is to be found will be harder to extract, and more expensive.

Coal has been used for thousands of years, but it was during the industrial revolution that coal use soared. Today, coal supplies more than one-third of global electricity generation.

And then there is nuclear power -but it poses numerous threats to people and the environment.

Impact of non–renewable resources on the environment

It is evident that our world is converging to climate and ecological tipping points because of human activities.

Reducing the global carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 and limiting the increase in global temperatures to 1.5°C requires a complete alteration in the methods of how energy is produced and consumed globally.

Considering the growing human population and our unsustainable activities, it is estimated that even if the pledges are successfully implemented, the world could still face around 22 billion tonnes of carbon emissions by 2050, resulting in a rise of 2.1°C in global temperatures by 2100.

Research tells us that more than 80% of the estimated growth in demand for coal in 2021 will be provided by Asia, led by China.

Renewable energy-Key to sustainable future with focus on India

In today’s era, tackling climate change and working to achieve sustainable development models have become a global agenda, and one way the world looks at achieving this is by transforming from non-renewable sources of energy to clean and green energy.

The demand and consumption of energy in India have been growing at one of the fastest rates in the world. India has been exploring various opportunities and facing challenges on its path to develop and provide economical and sustainable energy to its growing population. 

Coal and oil are currently the main resources to meet India’s energy demands, with coal being a primary contributor, with a share of almost 57 per cent

However, modern renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power are also gaining ground rapidly in the country. 

According to IEA, India is on the edge of entering a solar power revolution which could replace coal as its major source for producing energy. 

According to IEA’s Renewables 2020 report, India is set to witness the largest increase in its renewable resources focusing on its solar energy and wind power installations.

Conclusion

The fact is that population growth is driving all of our resource problems, including energy. Slowing the population growth will automatically reduce the energy demand. But there is hope – the world is witnessing a transition from non-renewable sources to renewable sources.

Supportive policies, increased availability, and lower costs will go a long way in popularising renewable energy sources in the next few decades.

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