World energy use and carbon emissions

Measured on a thermal equivalent basis, the world used the equivalent of 11 million tonnes of oil (mtoe) in 2005 (IEA, 2006c). Roughly 80 per cent of this was supplied by fossil fuels, with oil accounting for 35 per cent, coal 25 per cent and gas 21 per cent (Table 1.1). Another ten per cent was derived from solid biomass, largely wood, dung and crop residues used for fuel in developing countries. The remainder was supplied by nuclear power (six per cent), hydropower (two per cent) and other renewables (one per cent).

With only 18 per cent of the world's population, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries account for around half of global primary energy consumption. As Table 1.1 indicates, developing countries on average use a higher proportion of coal and biomass than OECD countries, but less oil, gas and nuclear power. Overall, OECD countries have greater access to the high quality and cleaner fossil fuels, while developing countries frequently rely on cheap, low quality and dirty fossil fuels or biomass. The increased demand for oil and gas from countries such as China has now become globally significant, with imports rising sharply. As other countries follow a similar development

Table 1.1 Composition of world primary energy demand in 2004

World

OECD

US

EU

UK

DCsa

China

India

Total (mtoe)

11,204

5,502

2,324

1,866

247

4,460

1,626

573

% of total

100

49

21

17

2

40

15

5

Coal (%)

25

21

21

18

16

32

61

34

Oil (%)

35

41

41

38

36

30

20

22

Gas (%)

21

22

23

24

39

13

3

4

Nuclear (%)

6

11

9

14

7

1

1

1

Hydro (%)

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

Biomass (%)

10

3

3

4

2b

22

14

37

Other c (%)

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

a Developing countries; b Other renewables; c All renewables

Source: Authors, using data from IEA (2006c) and DTI (2004) Energy Flow Chart 2004, National Statistics, London.

a Developing countries; b Other renewables; c All renewables

Source: Authors, using data from IEA (2006c) and DTI (2004) Energy Flow Chart 2004, National Statistics, London.

path, the international tensions around oil and gas supply may be expected to increase.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) (IEA, 2006c) divides final energy consumption into three main sectors: industry, transport and households, services and agriculture combined (HSA). Industrial energy consumption in OECD countries has declined, partly because of the shift of manufacturing to developing countries, but energy consumption in this sector continues to grow globally, driven largely by the emerging economies. Outside the US, transport accounts for the smallest share of total demand, but consumption is growing rapidly in absolute terms.

In developing countries, energy use is dominated by the HSA sectors. Traditional biomass is frequently the largest fuel source and is often consumed at very low efficiencies. In India, for example, HSA accounts for 60 per cent of final energy consumption. China is an exception owing to its massive industrial expansion, with industry accounting for 45 per cent of final energy consumption and HSA for 40 per cent. In both countries, transport accounts for a small but rising proportion of total demand (ten per cent in China and nine per cent in India).

In its 2007 World Energy Outlook, the IEA projects that global primary energy demand could be 50 per cent higher in 2030, with developing countries accounting for 73 per cent of this increase and fossil fuels still dominating the energy mix (IEA, 2007d). While significant improvements in energy efficiency are anticipated, the impact of these is expected to be outweighed by increases in income. The IEA considers that fossil fuel resources are sufficient to meet this demand, although in the case of oil this appears increasingly questionable. The implications for carbon are obvious and demonstrate the non-sustainability of current trends.

Per capita CO2 emissions vary widely around the world, ranging from 0.9 tonnes of CO2 in Africa to 11 tonnes in the OECD (IEA, 2006c). In 2004, the country with highest per capita emissions was the US at 19.8 tonnes, which compares to a world average of 4.18 tonnes. With 18 per cent of the world population, OECD countries are responsible for 49 per cent of global carbon emissions and are overwhelmingly responsible for the historic increase in atmospheric concentrations.

These large differences in per capita emissions reflect the patterns of energy consumption described above as well as the huge welfare gap between the OECD and the developing world (Table 1.2). Despite decades of rapid economic growth, and despite becoming the world's largest CO2 emitter overall, China's per capita emissions are still below the world average and less than half the OECD average. Similarly, per

Table 1.2 OECD and world GDP and energy/carbon intensities

2004

Population

GDP per

Energy

Energy

Total

CO2 per

CO2

data

capita

supplya

intensity

CO2

capita

intensity

m

$1000

mtoe

toe/$1000

mt/

t

t/$1000

GDP

year

GDP

World

6,352

5.51

11,223

G.32

26,583

4.18

G.76

OECD

1,164

23.8G

5,5G8

G.2G

12,911

11.G9

G.47

ROW

5,188

1.41

5,715

G.78

13,672

2.64

1.87

a total primary energy supply m: million; t: tonne; toe: tonnes of oil equivalent; ROW: rest of the world.

Source: Authors, from data in IEA (2006c).

a total primary energy supply m: million; t: tonne; toe: tonnes of oil equivalent; ROW: rest of the world.

Source: Authors, from data in IEA (2006c).

capita emissions in Brazil and India are respectively half and one-third of those of China.

Although per capita emissions are correlated with income, differences in geography, climate, land-use patterns, fuel mix and energy prices also play an important role. With similar levels of per capita income, the emissions intensity of Canada, Australia and the US greatly exceeds that of Europe and Japan. Similarly, in spite of higher space heating demand, Scandinavian countries have some of the lowest per capita emissions in the OECD.

Global primary energy consumption nearly doubled between 1971 and 2004, with the rate of growth in developing countries greatly exceeding that in the industrialised world. The share of the OECD in global primary energy consumption fell from 60 per cent to 50 per cent over this period, but in 2004 per capita energy use and carbon emissions in the OECD were four times greater than in the rest of the world. But this picture is changing, with important implications for resource availability and environmental impacts. The rapid economic growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China appears to be of a different order to previous development trajectories, with annual GDP growth in China exceeding seven per cent over the last 20 years.

These 'economic miracles' have pulled millions of people out of poverty, but their dependence upon resource intensive and energy inefficient industries has created a major environmental challenge. In its reference scenario, the IEA (2006c) projects a doubling of primary energy demand in developing countries by 2030 and a comparable growth in CO2 emissions. Even in its 'alternative' scenario, energy demand and CO2 emissions are expected to increase by more than 70 per cent over this period. By 2030, developing countries will account for half of the world's total primary energy demand and a combination of population and income growth is expected to increase energy demand further beyond 2030. To reconcile these trends with the need to radically reduce global carbon emissions is an extraordinary challenge.

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