Based on BP’s forecasts, the world’s continued reliance on fossil fuels will see global greenhouse gases exceed recommended levels above 450 parts per million of carbon-dioxide equivalent.
BP estimates oil, gas and coal will each command market shares of around 26 to 28 percent by 2030, with non-fossil fuels such as nuclear, hydro and renewables remaining at around 6 to 7 percent each.
Despite reduced energy intensity, growth in renewables and substitution of coal with gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are still forecast to increase by 26 percent from 2011 to 2030.
“Most of the growth will come from non-OECD countries, so that by 2030 70 percent of CO2 emissions are expected to come from outside the OECD,” BP said.
Renewables are anticipated to be the fastest growing source of energy, growing by 7.6 percent a year, but are only expected to provide 11 percent of global electricity production by 2030, up from 3 percent in 2011.
Despite recent smog, China’s efforts to improve energy use are seen resulting in lower coal demand from 2020 and improved global energy intensity. Without the improvement, BP said the world would need to almost double energy supply by 2030.
Changing energy mix
Natural gas is expected to be the fastest growing among fossil fuels at 2 percent a year, with shale gas seen supplying 53 percent of U.S. gas production by 2030. Coal growth will slow to 1.2 percent a year, with India overtaking the United States as the second-largest coal consumer by 2024 behind China.
Oil demand will increase at just 0.8 percent a year, with its share of energy consumption falling to 28 percent by 2030. All net oil demand growth will come from outside the OECD, with half coming from China, India, and the Middle East alone.
Despite the Fukushima disaster, nuclear energy output is expected to grow by 2.6 percent a year, compared to an average growth rate of 1.6 percent over the last two decades. 88 percent of growth in nuclear energy will come from China, India and Russia. By 2026, China is seen overtaking the United States as the largest producer of nuclear power. Four years later Beijing will account for 30 percent of nuclear energy production, according to BP.
While long a major coal exporter, Australia is forecast to overtake Qatar as the largest LNG supplier by 2018, accounting for a quarter of global production by 2030.
However, U.S. gas exports to Asia could undercut Australian LNG exports, while aiding major importers such as Japan and South Korea.
According to Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, the subject of U.S. gas exports to Japan has already been raised in top-level talks between the two allies, with Japan eyeing lower costs to manufacturers and households along with a reduced trade deficit.
The United States may reap the gains, but Asia’s policymakers face a careful balancing act in ensuring the region benefits rather than paying the price of the energy revolution.