By transforming patterns of travel and work around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the transition to renewable energy and the decline of fossil fuels. Lockdowns brought car commuting and plane travel to a near halt, and the mass experiment in which white-collar employees have been working from home may permanently reduce energy consumption for business travel. Renewable energy and electric vehicles were already gaining market share before the pandemic. Under pressure from investors, major energy companies have started writing off fossil fuel reserves as stranded assets that are no longer worth the cost of extracting. These shifts may indicate that “peak oil demand” has arrived earlier than expected.

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