World energy technology outlook – WETO H2

Jan 2006

As the age of cheap energy resources comes to its end, strong political commitment is needed to preserve European competitiveness and to combat climate change. The WETO-H2 report (World Energy Technology Outlook-2050) places the European energy system in a global context. Europe represents today 10% of the world population, 25% of the world GDP and 20% of world energy consumption. Considering the demographic changes and the techno-economic progress made by developing countries, by 2050 these figures will be less than 7%, 15% and 12% respectively.
WETO-H2 is structured around a business-as-usual case, and features two specific scenarios that reflect the political will of Europe to be at the forefront of the struggle against climate change and to promote new clean energy technologies:
The “reference case” describes the developments of the world energy system up to 2050, and the related CO2 emissions assuming a continuation of existing economic and technological trends. Without determined action, energy demand will double and electricity demand will quadruple, resulting in an 80% increase in CO2 emissions.
The “carbon constraint case” explores the consequences of more ambitious carbon emissions policies that aim at the long-term stabilisation of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Early action is assumed in industrialised countries, while more time is allowed for the emerging and developing countries.
The “hydrogen case” is derived from the “carbon constraint case” but also assumes a series of technology breakthroughs that significantly increase the cost effectiveness of hydrogen technologies, in particular in end use.
The detailed results of the WETO-H2 report should be of considerable interest for decision and policy makers at different levels. More generally, the report seems to confirm the need for a common energy policy for Europe if it wants to successfully face up to the global energy challenges.

By: European Commission

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