World needs dramatic energy shift from fossil fuels, studies warn

The agency, which advises the world's advanced economies on energy issues, said the United States achieved the largest decline in emissions at three percent, as cheaper shale gas and renewables displaced coal for electricity production.

New nuclear power plants were turned on in China, the United States, South Korea, Russia, India and Pakistan in 2016 with China leading the way with an additional five reactors that increased nuclear power generation there by 25 percent, the IEA said.

Two-thirds of China's electricity demand growth, which was up 5.4%, was supplied by renewables, mostly hydro and wind, as well as nuclear.

The world must swiftly shift energy production away from fossil fuels if it is to prevent a unsafe increase in global temperatures, according to separate reports released Monday by two worldwide agencies.

Globally, energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions were flat for the third straight year in 2016 even as the worldwide economy grew 3.1%, signaling a "continuing decoupling of emissions and economic activity". Natural gas production is also increasing, helping to mitigate any emissions growth in numerous western countries looking to natural gas.

Emissions fell not only on coal-to-gas switching, growing renewable power generation and improvements in energy efficiency, but on structural changes in the worldwide economy.

United States emissions are at their lowest level since 1992, while the economy has grown 80 per cent since that time.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol called the three-year balance "an emerging trend", given the growth in the global economy. The International Energy Agency report In the IEA report, they say that in order to ensure at least a two-thirds chance of keeping global temperatures below the 2.0 degree Celsius mark, "would require an unparalleled ramp up of all low-carbon technologies in all countries".

Another controversial energy source, nuclear, has also increased.

Costs of the energy transition up to 2050 are projected to reach US$29 trillion by 2050, roughly 0.4% of global GDP, but these costs are expected to then boost global GDP by 0.8% in the same period.

China's demand for coal continues to decrease, helping to decrease the countries emissions by 1% in 2016, despite the fact the countries economy grew by an impressive 6.7%. Renewables also played a significant, but smaller, role.

The report found that a clean energy future would generate $10trn a year by 2050, at the cost of $1.8trn annually to implement the transition.

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