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'Terminal decline' of fossil industry risks crisis unless regulators act - study

(Reuters, 4 Jun 2020) Tech innovation and policy support is leading to peak fossil fuel demand in many sectors and countries, and COVID-19 has accelerated this, says Carbon Tracker.

Cheap renewable energy, climate policies and the coronavirus are pushing fossil fuel companies towards a process of "terminal decline" that could trigger a new financial crisis unless regulators act, according to a study published on Thursday.

Carbon Tracker, a think-tank that assesses the risks to investments in oil, natural gas and coal posed by a transition to cleaner energy, said demand for these commodities might never fully recover from a collapse triggered by the pandemic.

"We are witnessing the decline and fall of the fossil fuel system," said Kingsmill Bond, a co-author.

Technological innovation and policy support was leading to peak fossil fuel demand in "sector after sector and country after country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this," Bond said. "We may now have seen peak fossil fuel demand as a whole."