(Repeats Friday's story with no changes to text)
* John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own
* Chartbook: https://tmsnrt.rs/2OAydcX
By John Kemp
LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) - The global energy system has become greener over the last decade, but most countries are nowhere near on track to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of this century.
Net zero has become symbolically and diplomatically important for policymakers, but the goal will remain far out of reach without much faster change.
In recent years, energy consumption has become less carbon-intensive, but not fast enough to offset the rapid increase in energy use as a result of rising populations, incomes, and demand for energy services in developing countries.
Worldwide energy consumption rose at a compound annual rate of 1.9% in the ten years before the coronavirus epidemic while energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased at an average rate of 1.4%.
Replacing coal-fired power generation by gas, wind and solar, as well as improvements in combustion efficiency, has reduced emissions per unit of energy consumption in most countries (https://tmsnrt.rs/2OAydcX).
But underlying increases in energy demand drove a rise in total energy-related emissions, according to estimates from BP (LON: BP ).
In the advanced economies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), energy consumption increased only slightly (+0.4% per year) while emissions fell (-0.4% per year).
There were significant annual emissions reductions in Denmark (-4.0%), Britain (-2.8%), Italy (-1.8%), France (-1.7%), Spain (-1.3%), Germany (-1.0%) and the United States (-0.6%).
In developing economies outside the OECD, however, there were large annual increases in both energy consumption (averaging +3.1%) and emissions (averaging +2.5%).
There were large average emissions increases in Brazil (+2.3%), China (+2.5%) and India (+4.5%), and even faster increases in Indonesia (+5.0%), the Philippines (+6.5%), Bangladesh (+8.0%) and Vietnam (+10.8%).
OECD energy-related emissions peaked as long ago as 2007 but there is no sign of a similar peak in the rest of the world (“BP Statistical Review of World Energy”, 2020).
As a result, global energy-related CO2 emissions hit a record 34.2 billion tonnes in 2019, up from 29.7 billion tonnes in 2009 and 23.1 billion tonnes in 1999.
The coronavirus epidemic, quarantines, and business cycle downturn are likely to have cut energy consumption and emissions in 2020.
However, as the economy recovers, lockdowns ease and international passenger aviation resumes, energy consumption and emissions are likely to increase again and will probably hit a new record by 2023/24.
Political leaders of the United States, the European Union and China have all committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or 2060.
These commitments will be the centre of public and media attention in the run up to the United Nations climate summit in Britain in November.
Policymakers have identified a suite of technologies that could reduce net emissions to zero by mid-century: efficiency gains; electrification; wind, solar and nuclear power; carbon capture and storage; and hydrogen.
But what is missing is a convincing roadmap for their deployment in the advanced economies – and especially in the rest of the world where energy demand will continue increasing fastest.
Without a much faster and more widespread effort to reduce emissions, while simultaneously meeting rising demand for energy services in developing countries, the net-zero target will almost certainly be missed.
- Ensuring the energy transition is equitable (Reuters, April 8, 2021) Energy transitions and zero-carbon targets (Reuters, Sept. 29, 2020) Global energy transition already well underway (Reuters, Sept. 11, 2020) Climate change targets are slipping out of reach (Reuters, April 16, 2019) (Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.