COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the global economy hard. As economists and experts look towards a slow and careful recovery of the global economy, there will be lower than anticipated energy demand. Therefore, fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal could be in oversupply for years to come.
This new normal shows us the implications of an early and abrupt energy transition. This results in oil and gas producing countries and energy companies seeking solutions to manage the oversupply and to stay afloat. Even with reduced fossil fuel consumption, global warming is far from being resolved and energy markets need further downward adjustments. Furthermore, not only must solutions be found for climate change, ways of achieving economic growth and sustainability in our economies and society must be developed.
If society thrives in a decarbonized world powered by renewables, nuclear, and other clean energies, should the role of fossil fuels be substantially diminished? This year, IEEJ will share the results of its annual Outlook regarding both post-COVID scenarios and decarbonisation scenarios. A panel discussion by experts on decarbonisation scenarios will be followed by a discussion on the potential of a circular carbon economy to achieve energy transition.
Circular Carbon Economy was first introduced at the G20 discussion table by its 2020 Chair, Saudi Arabia, with strong support from Japan. It is a holistic approach to mitigate carbon accumulation in the atmosphere by reducing, reusing, recycling, and removing carbon (4R). This concept will facilitate the export/import of carbon free fossil fuels and the utilisation of CO2 in manufacturing processes, including chemical, cement, steel making and other places. It introduces new technologies, and new industrial and trade structures that are not yet in place. Fossil fuels exporting and importing countries may have a renewed opportunity to work together. Will it be sufficient to reduce CO2 emission?