Policymakers must accelerate moves to global carbon pricing to help rein in energy-related CO2 emissions projected to rise 25% between 2013-2035, oil giant BP said on Wednesday in its long-term energy outlook.
BP projected that annual emissions growth will slow from 2.5% over the past decade to 0.7% by 2030, but recognised that “the profile for emissions is well above that recommended by the scientific community”.
The projections came in BP’s Energy Outlook to 2035, the company’s influential annual report updating its view of global energy markets.
BP CEO Bob Dudley said no single change or policy is likely to be sufficient on its own to tackle the “most likely” unsustainable path for carbon emissions, and that identifying which changes are likely to be most effective is fraught with difficulty.
“This underpins the importance of policy-makers taking steps that lead to a global price for carbon, which provides the right incentives for everyone to play their part,” he added in an introduction to the report.
Key findings in the report:
- Global primary energy consumption will rise 37% (1.4% per annum) from 2013 to 2035 amid fast growth in Asia and a rising world population, though growth is just 0.1% in OECD nations.
- A 2.2% annual energy consumption growth rate in non-OECD countries during that period is slower than the 2.4% recorded over 2000-2013 due to slower GDP growth and an accelerated reduction in energy intensity.
- Coal will remain the dominant fuel in 2035 but its share will slip to just over a third from 44% today.
Some environmentalists point out that BP’s and other energy industry projections have consistently underestimated the development of renewables and that using tonnes of oil equivalent as a metric skews the importance of fossil-based energy because it doesn’t take into account waste heat.
“BP’s energy outlook has changed little over the last year. It appears to state the COP21 international climate change agreement will make little impact in suppressing future fossil fuel demand, which continues to meet more than 80% of global energy needs,” said Luke Sussams, senior analyst at the Carbon Tracker Initiative.
The report mapped global energy trends for each source under its base case scenarios, and then only separately assessed the potential impact of four key uncertainties, one of which was climate policy.
The climate policy section lists the effects of various measures if governments opted to impose further policies given that global CO2 emissions were expected to be 18 billion tonnes higher in 2035 than the path recommended by climate scientists.
It suggested several options that policymakers could take to cut energy emissions more aggressively:
- Replace coal with gas in power
- Add CCS to coal power plants
- Increase renewables power generation
- Increase nuclear powergeneration
- Improve vehicle efficiency
- Improve ‘other sector’ energy efficiency
- Improve efficiency of electricity production
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org