Climate change may raise energy demand by up to 58%

IANS . Vienna | Update:

In the next 30 years, the world will see a dramatic rise in energy demand due to the impact of climate change, say researchers.

In a study, published in Nature Communications journal, the researchers maintained that the energy demand would rise by at least 11 per cent due to global warming by 2050.

For the study, the researchers' team led by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria carried out an analysis using temperature projections from 21 climate models, and population and economy projections for five socioeconomic scenarios.

They tried to determine how energy demand would shift relative to today's climate under modest and high-warming scenarios around 2050.

The study's findings indicated that under "modest" global warming conditions, the energy demand would rise between 11-27%. Whereas under "vigorous" warming conditions, the global energy demand would rise between 25-58%.

The magnitude of the increase depends on three uncertain factors -- the future pathways of global greenhouse gas emissions; the different ways that climate models use this information to project future hot and cold temperature extremes in various world regions; and the manner in which countries' energy consumption patterns change under different scenarios of future increases in population and income, the researchers said.

They observed that the rising temperatures due to climate change would fuel energy demand significantly higher as compared to population and income growth.

"An important way in which society will adapt to rising temperatures from climate change is by increasing cooling during hot seasons and decreasing heating during cold seasons," explained study's co-author Enrica de Cian, associate professor at Ca' Foscari University of VeniceA

"Changes in space conditioning directly impact energy systems, as firms and households demand less natural gas, petroleum, and electricity to meet lower heating needs, and more electricity to satisfy higher cooling needs," she added.

The study's findings represent the initial impacts of global warming. They do not account for the additional adjustments in fuel supplies and prices, the researchers asserted.

"The lower the level of income per person, the larger the share of income that families need to spend to adapt to a given increase in energy demand," noted lead author Bas van Ruijven, a researcher with IIASA Energy Programme.

"Some scenarios in our study assume continued population growth and in those cases temperature increases by 2050 could expose half a billion people in the lowest-income countries in the Middle-East and Africa to increases in energy demand of 25% or higher," Ruijven said.

The study's results can be used in future to calculate how energy market dynamics will ultimately determine changes in energy consumption and emissions, the researchers said.

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