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EIA expects carbon dioxide emissions to slow

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The EIA projects that growth in global carbon dioxide emissions from energy-related sources will slow, despite increasing energy consumption. EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017) Reference case projects that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will grow 0.6%/yr from 2015 to 2040, a slower rate of growth than the 1.8%/yr experienced from 1990 to 2015. Emissions from countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) account for all of EIA’s projected growth in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from non-OECD countries exceeded that of OECD countries in 2005. The IEO2017 projects that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from non-OECD countries will grow 0.9%/yr in 2015 – 2040, which is much lower than the 3.2%/yr average growth rate from 1990 – 2015. EIA expects non-OECD countries to experience a 1.4%/yr rate of increase in annual energy consumption in 2015 – 2040. The overall population in non-OECD countries is projected to grow more than twice as fast as that of OECD member countries, and the demand growth for energy services (such as air conditioning, home electronics, and personal vehicles) increases with rising incomes.

Some of the carbon dioxide emissions related to increasing non-OECD energy demand are likely to be mitigated by changes in the fuel mix, similar to trends seen in the OECD countries. In 2015, renewable energy and nuclear power accounted for 14% of non-OECD countries’ energy consumption. By 2040, the IEO2017 projects that percentage to increase to 21%. EIA expects coal demand and related carbon dioxide emissions, especially in China, to flatten as natural gas replaces coal in power generation and in industrial applications. China is currently the largest emitter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the world and is projected to remain in that position through 2040.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from OECD countries are projected to be flat from 2015 to 2040 in the IEO2017 Reference case, slightly lower than the annual rate of growth from 1990 to 2015 when OECD carbon dioxide emissions increased 0.3%/yr. In OECD countries, energy consumption grows by 0.3%/yr in the IEO2017 Reference case. However, enough low and non carbon fuel sources are added to the energy mix that EIA does not project the amount of carbon dioxide released annually in these countries to increase by 2040. The IEO2017 Reference case forecasts renewable and nuclear energy in OECD countries to rise from 21% of OECD countries’ energy consumption in 2015 to 25% in 2040, with the United States expected to remain the largest emitter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions among OECD countries through 2040.

Because OECD economies are relatively mature, markets for many energy services such as air conditioning and personal transportation are saturated. Population growth is relatively low, and technology improvements largely mitigate population growth-related increases in energy demand in buildings and vehicles.

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