Webinar: World Energy Outlook 2020 Indicates Implications of Covid-19 on the Energy Sector

How might Covid-19 reshape the energy sector? Will it stall or accelerate clean energy transitions? On 22 October 2020, International Energy Agency’s Division Head Tim Gould tackled these questions in his presentation on the agency’s recently released annual flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook (WEO).

The Paris School of International Affairs’ (PSIA) Dean Enrico Letta introduced Gould while International Energy Master Scientific Advisor Giacomo Luciani and faculty member Coby Van Der Linde facilitated the discussion. The presentation of the highly-anticipated WEO in collaboration with PSIA honored an annual tradition established in light of Sciences Po students’ and alumni’s continuous contribution to the outlook.

Yet this year’s findings and predictions turned out to be anything but traditional. Here are key takeaways:

  • It is still to be determined if the pandemic will cause a setback in the transition to a more secure and sustainable energy system or if it will catalyse change. In any case, global carbon emissions are expected to rebound more slowly than after the financial crisis of ‘08 and ‘09. If the pandemic lasts beyond 2021, it would usher the slowest decade of energy demand growth for a century.
  • The demand for renewable energy has increased with solar power (the new “king of electricity”) taking the lead. However, access to electricity in developing countries has stalled and investment in grids could be at risk, especially given their role as the “bedrock” of the electricity system and importance in the clean energy transition.
  • The pandemic has compromised oil and gas revenues and investment. Oil demand is down by 8% and investment in oil and gas supply is down by approximately one third. Oil and gas producers face pressure to reassess their strategies in line with policy shifts. The WEO anticipates that coal will not rebound post-crisis. 
  • In order to reach net-zero emissions globally by 2050, governments, companies, investors, and citizens need to take drastic actions between 2020 and 2030 (increasing carbon capture utilisation storage, new nuclear capacities, low carbon hydrogen, use of electric cars, investment in clean electricity technologies, etc.).

Although the actions of all actors matter to achieve an energy transition, Gould emphasised that changes at the government-level matter most of all. 

“There are no shortcuts. It is only profound changes guided by good policies that can deliver a better energy system,” he said.  

Watch the full presentation of the WEO on replay below:

More information

Subscribe to News from Sciences Po

Yann Algan:

Yann Algan: "More than ever, our students want to have a positive social impact"

The Dean of the School of Public Affairs and Professor of Economics Yann Algan has accepted a position at HEC Paris, where he will work as Associate Dean for the Pre-Experience Programme and continue his research into trust and cooperation in organisations. He will thus leave his position as Dean of the School of Public Affairs from the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. In February, he answered our questions about the School, taking us on a tour of the newest elements of a historic curriculum

More
Watch Season 2 of our video series FOCUS!

Watch Season 2 of our video series FOCUS!

News passes, ideas stay. FOCUS is Sciences Po’s video series that sheds light on current affairs. In each episode, a researcher or professor explores a topical issue related to his or her field of expertise from an unexpected angle. In three minutes, FOCUS offers an out-of-the-box reflection on the issues that drive public debate and proposes perspectives for understanding and acting.

More
Sciences Po celebrates 20 years of the Equal Opportunity Programme

Sciences Po celebrates 20 years of the Equal Opportunity Programme

Twenty years ago, Sciences Po created a new, daring and almost revolutionary programme in the French higher education landscape: the Equal Opportunity Programme (EOP) opened a dedicated admission pathway for candidates who might never have allowed themselves to apply. 20 years and more than 2,300 students later, Sciences Po is celebrating the success of this bet: combining excellence and a proactive approach to social inclusion.

More
Will the Covid-19 Crisis Mark the Decline of the Populist Right?

Will the Covid-19 Crisis Mark the Decline of the Populist Right?

Donald Trump’s defeat in the U.S. presidential election last November and the relative inability of populists to make their voices heard during the pandemic point to a new political cycle that is less promising for parties such as the Rassemblement National (RN) in France, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany, and the Lega in Italy.

More
Autumn 2021: in-person teaching and a renewed student life

Autumn 2021: in-person teaching and a renewed student life

After an unusual and eventful academic year, the start of the 2021/2022 year is intended as a return to normal. All Sciences Po teams are working to prepare the conditions for reception and teaching in person for all students, on all campuses, with the academic year starting at the end of August and a return to the usual academic calendar, always in respect of the governmental regulations in force.

More