Energy: “A growing mismatch between hopes and reality”

BP’s latest Statistical Review of World Energy shows that primary energy consumption grew 2.9 per cent last year, almost double its 10-year average and the fastest since 2010.

China, the US and India together accounted for mortwo-thirds thirds of the global increase in energy demand, with US consumption expanding at its fastest rate for 30 years.

Despite this demand being met largely by natural gas and renewables, carbon emissions rose at their highest rate for seven years at 2.0 per cent. In fact, oil consumption grew by an above-average 1.4 million barrels per day and coal consumption grew by 1.4 per cent, double its 10-year average growth, despite its share of energy production falling.

Perhaps one shaft of light is that renewable power grew strongly at 14.5 per cent, slightly below its historical average, although its increase in energy terms was close to the record-breaking increase of 2017.

Spencer Dale, group chief economist for BP wryly noted: “My guess is that when our successors look back at Statistical Reviews from around this period, they will observe a world in which there was growing societal awareness and demands for urgent action on climate change, but where the actual energy data continued to move stubbornly in the wrong direction. A growing mismatch between hopes and reality. In that context, I fear – or perhaps hope – that 2018 will represent the year in which this mismatch peaked.”

Dale also underlined the issue facing the world, commenting that such data should be sounding a warning alarm that the world is on an unsustainable path.

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