A long transition

It will take a long transition period to reverse the respective shares of fossil and non-fossil energies, starting from the current system which is 80% based on fossil energies.

Figure 4.1 illustrates the predicted trends in non-fossil energies for the period 2000-2100. The general trend expected is an S-shaped curve, changing slowly at first then accelerating up to a point of inflexion before slowing down at the end of the transition.

To reverse the respective shares of fossil and non-fossil energies by the end of the century, the point of inflexion must occur at 2050, with a share of non-fossil energies of about 50%. Most analyses conducted for periods up to 2050 predict a significantly lower share of the non-fossil energies,

Transition achieved by 2100 ______

Share of non-fossil energy

2000

2050

Year 210C

Figure 4.1 Trend in the share of non-fossil energy within a range not exceeding 30-40%, even given a favourable scenario, with assumptions aimed at favouring the penetration of non-fossil ener-

The global transition, resulting in significant replacement of fossil energies by non-fossil energies, will therefore last a considerable period of time. Even though it has already started, it will probably not be completed before 2100.

This duration is due to the time required to develop alternative solutions and the intrinsic inertia of the energy sector. The investments made for energy production facilities such as power stations are repaid over periods extending up to thirty or forty years. In the automotive industry, the time required to design a new type of vehicle and setting up the production lines is also very long. Introduction of new equipment is faster in the emerging countries, but the top priority of these countries is to ensure their own development rather than reduce their CO2 emissions.

Also, in a certain number of applications, no immediate alternatives are available. This is the case, in particular, for the transport sector, which is almost exclusively dependent on oil.

Even when these alternatives are available, their distribution takes a certain amount of time since equipment is only renewed relatively slowly: this is true of the housing sector, in particular.

Given the urgent need to find solutions to the various threats and in particular to limit climate change, it is obvious that we cannot wait for completion of a long drawn-out transition and concrete measures must be taken quickly to face the problems posed.

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