Latest IEA and OECD reports paint a shaky global picture of energy efficiency and primary resource management for decades to come

The latest International Energy Agency report on energy efficiency sets out a vision for 2040 with 60% more building space and 20% more people, and double global GDP while using only marginally more energy than today and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 12%.

Whereas, the handling of materials will make up to 50 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2060, says the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Deploying energy efficiency policies could reduce energy bills for consumers by more than $500 billion a year. But what about the growing resource use for decades to come?

According to a recent OECD report released at the opening of an international conference on the circular economy, in Yokohama, Japan, by 2060, the world will consume 167 gigatonnes of metallic and non-metallic material resources annually, compared to the 79 Gt that were used in 2011. The use of metallic materials will go from 7 Gt per year in 2011 to 19 Gt in 2060, while that of non-metallic minerals — such as construction materials like sand and gravel — will grow from 35 Gt in 2011 to 82 Gt in 2060.

Since a large part of greenhouse gas emissions is due to the management of primary and secondary material resources, by 2060 they will reach 75 Gt of CO2 equivalent. Globally, consumption of primary resources will be equivalent to 45 kg per person per day.

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