Issue Brief

The New Climate Math: Energy Addition, Subtraction, and Transition


The world has never truly undergone an energy transition, and the challenge of climate change will—for the first time—require one.

Key Findings

  • Though renewable energy is growing, the world has not begun a transition away from fossil fuels.
  • The world has experienced a series of energy additions; new fuels have built atop the old for more than 200 years.
  • Projections show that renewables largely add to today’s energy incumbents, rather than displacing them.
  • To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, new energy technologies will need to both add and subtract from today’s energy mix.