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EIA: global energy consumption and emissions will increase through 2050

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that global energy consumption and associated carbon dioxide emissions will increase through 2050 (assuming the global energy system remains on its current trajectory and absent new policy).

Global population growth, increased regional manufacturing, and higher living standards push growth in energy consumption beyond advances in energy efficiency, according to EIA’s projections in its International Energy Outlook 2023 (IEO2023).

In IEO2023,the EIA projects that global energy-related CO2 emissions will increase through 2050 in most of the cases modelled. Although the EIA expects zero-carbon technology – renewables and nuclear – will meet the bulk of new energy demand through 2050, that growth is not sufficient to decrease global energy-related CO2 emissions in most cases under current laws and regulations, according to EIA’s projections.

Across all cases explored in IEO2023, global energy consumption increases, with the fastest growth in the residential and industrial sectors. Global consumption of liquid fuels increases through 2050, with the fastest growth occurring in industrial applications such as chemical production.

Economic growth and increased disposable income also increase demand for transportation in all cases.

EIA Administrator, Joe DeCarolis, said: “The transportation and industrial sectors are major consumers of liquid fuels throughout our projection period, but as electric vehicles grow to become a larger part of the global transportation fleet, the industrial sector accounts for an increasing share of petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption."

Energy security concerns hasten a transition from fossil fuels in some countries, although they drive increased fossil fuel consumption in others.

In nearly all IEO2023 cases, growth in energy production from non-fossil fuel sources outpaces growth in fossil fuels, but that dynamic varies from region to region. In Western Europe and China, policy, rapid demand growth, and energy security considerations favour locally available resources such as wind, solar, and battery storage, prompting more of these types of installations early in the projection period. Regions with access to relatively affordable coal, such as the other Asia-Pacific region, consume more coal.

Natural gas and crude oil supply, consumption, and trade patterns evolve in the EIA's projections to meet growing demand against the backdrop of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which it assumes will continue to limit Russia’s exports to Western markets. The Middle East and North America will increase natural gas production and exports to meet growing demand, particularly in China, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

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