The fossil energy system is falling over the edge of the demand cliff.

2019 was likely peak fossil fuel demand and this marks the beginning of runaway change: the tipping point where positive feedback loops begin to dominate the system.

Positive feedback loops mean disruption. In Spiralling Disruption we identify seven virtuous and vicious feedback loops that are driving a rapid transformation of the global energy system, as renewables displace fossil fuels: costs, technology, expectations, finance, society, politics and geopolitics.

As these loops feed off each other, they give rise to the non-linear “S-curve” typical of technology transitions.

The virtuous-vicious spirals that follow the peak


Note: Graph stylised; Source: Carbon Tracker

If investors and policymakers are to take advantage of the new world that is rapidly opening up, they must abandon the haze of linear, siloed thinking and instead see the 2020s as a decade of compounding and cascading technological, economic and societal change.