There are different scientific methods to look to the future in the energy sector, including
mathematical models, expert-based Delphi surveys and the back-casting approach. This
latter is a mix of mathematical and human inputs which looks at how a certain objective
can be attained rather than what is likely to happen in the future.
Whatever the studies used, we see similar messages emerging: in 2050 almost three quarters of the
world’s energy supply will still come from fossil fuels; energy demand and CO2 emissions will more
than double; electricity consumption will increase four-fold unless far-reaching policy measures are
But policy measures will not be enough. Research has an important role to play in developing new options
for limiting CO2 emissions that are economically viable, improving the efficiency of existing energy
technologies and putting new options at our disposal. In turn it will ensure the long term global
competitiveness of European industries by improving cost-efficiency.