This article provides and update on the sources of energy used globally to fuel human activity. It shows record highs as demand for evermore energy continues to rise and action to save energy decreases.
Renewable energy grew by the largest amount ever last year, while coal-fired electricity also reached a record high, according to new global data from oil giant BP. However, set against continued rapid rises in energy demand fuelled by oil and gas, renewables were not enough to prevent global CO2 emissions rising significantly for the first time in four years, the figures show. Still, the goals of the Paris Agreement look as far away as ever in the wake of these latest figures, given emissions must, ultimately, reach net-zero by mid-century to avoid dangerous warming.
Last year saw the strongest energy demand growth since 2013, BP says, with the 2.2% rise being well above the 1.7% average of the past decade. Developing countries accounted for four-fifths of the increase, BP says, though the EU also saw above-average demand growth. Meanwhile, global coal demand returned to growth after three years of declines, rising 25Mtoe (1.0%). However, coal use remains 3.5% below a peak reached in 2013.
The rise in demand for coal, oil and gas means global CO2 emissions grew by 426MtCO2 (1.6%) in 2017, BP’s figures suggest. This follows three years of flat or falling emissions, when coal use was also falling. BP’s data broadly aligns with a 2% growth estimate published last November by the Global Carbon Project.
All told, the share of global energy use met by fossil fuels fell again in 2017 to the lowest level recorded by BP of 85.0%, down from 85.3% in 2016.
RATES OF DOUBLING: 1% GROWTH = 70 YEARS; 2% = 35 YEARS; 3% – 23.3 YEARS; etc. – GEOMETRIC DEMANDS AND EMISSIONS ARE STILL IN FULL FLOW.