BP released its fourth annual BP Energy Outlook which predicts that global carbon dioxide emissions from energy use will increase by 29 percent by 2035. In fact, the report predicts that global emissions in 2035 will be “nearly double the 1990 level.”
BP may not be far off the proverbial mark. In November, the UN weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said that carbon dioxide levels reached a record high in 2012. Between 1990 and 2012, there was a 32-percent increase in the warming effect of the global climate. The WMO expects global carbon levels to be 400 parts per million (PPM) by 2016, which is greater than the 350 ppm many climate scientists say is the maximum level we can achieve while avoiding the worst damages from climate change.
Emissions growth in general, according to the report, will come from countries not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) while emissions from OECD countries will decline. The report expects emissions from OECD countries to decline to 1990 levels, while the emissions of non-OECD countries will be more than triple 1990 levels in 2035. Coal and gas will contribute 38 percent of the increase in emissions, with 24 percent coming from oil. Energy intensity will decline and without that decline carbon emissions in 2035 would be 40 percent higher. However, carbon intensity will decrease at a slow pace of only 8 percent from 2012 to 2035.
The report expects global energy consumption to increase by 41 percent from 2012 to 2035, compared to 55 percent over the last 23 years and 30 percent over the last 10 years. The majority of that growth (95 percent) in demand is expected to come from emerging economies. Energy use in advanced economies in North America, Europe and Asia as a group are expected to “grow only very slowly and begin to decline in the later years of the forecast period.”
The shares of the major fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) are each expected to make up around 27 percent of the total mix by 2035, and the rest will come from nuclear, hydroelectricity and renewables. Almost half of the growth in hydroelectricity will come from China, India and Brazil.
Gas is the fastest growing among fossil fuels, and will “increasingly: be used as a “cleaner alternative to coal for power generation as well as in other sectors,” the report stated. In North America, new technologies will unlock cheaper gas supplies. The share of coal in power generation will only slightly decrease from 43 to 37 percent between 2012 to 2035.
However, there is some good news. Renewable energy sources are expected to continue to be the “fastest growing class of energy,” gaining market shares with an average increase of 6.4 percent a year through 2012 to 2035. Renewable energy’s share of global electricity production is expected to increase from 5 percent in 2012 to 14 percent by 2035. Renewables in non-OECD market are expected to be 45 percent of the total by 2035. Renewables, including biofuels, are expected to have a higher share of primary energy than nuclear by 2025.
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