Published: 20 April 2021

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition

As countries continue their progress in transitioning to clean energy, it is critical to root the transition in economic, political and social practices to ensure progress is irreversible, according to the World Economic Forum's Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 report. The Energy Transition Index, which benchmarks 115 countries on the performance of their energy systems, finds that while 92 of the countries increased their score over the past 10 years, only 10% of countries were able to make consistent gains, showing the need for renewed focus and resilience to meet the climate goals of the next decade.

Key Highlights

This year marked the highest global average scores since the inception of the ETI, with the progress made across both system performance and transition readiness. High-income countries are making more progress in environmental sustainability relative to the rest of the world. Progress in emerging economies has tended to come from improved access and security as countries develop.

Key Highlights

  • 1
    Global average ETI scores have increased in 8 out of the last 10 years
  • 2
    Only 25% of countries have balanced the three imperatives of the energy triangle
  • 3
    Progress in energy access and environmental sustainability is strong, but economic growth challenges remain
  • 4
    Top 10 countries account for only 3% of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion
  • 5
    Only 13 out of 115 countries have made steady gains in the past decade
  • 6
    Speed of energy transition is fast in emerging economies, but large gaps remain

Out of 115 countries, 92 countries have made progress over this period, but only 68 have improved their scores by more than two percentage points.

  • Sweden leads the global rankings, followed by Norway and Denmark.
  • Among the world’s 10 largest economies, only the United Kingdom and France feature in the top 10.
  • The Top 10 account for only around 3% of energy-related CO2 emissions and around 2% of the global population.
  • Notably, large emerging centers of demand, such as China and India, have seen strong improvements
  • Scores in Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey have been relatively stable

Despite growing momentum, progress in the energy transition requires further acceleration. For this reason, and considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to focus on the resilience of the energy transition. As the risk landscape evolves, the transition will fail to deliver the step-change required without building in greater resilience.

The risks facing energy transition are evolving, threatening to derail momentum for change. Rising social inequalities, international cooperation challenges, and geopolitical shifts call for an inclusive and holistic approach

For robust and resilient progress, energy transition needs to be firmly rooted in legislation, consumer awareness, infrastructure and investments.

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