This is more like 100 stats of the day.
The International Energy Agency just released its World Energy Outlook, which addresses the 25-year outlook of such things as Russia's energy future, the role of coal in economic growth, fossil fuel subsidies and the progress of renewable energy.
Here's one doozy of a stat:
"As each year passes without clear signals to drive investment in clean energy, the 'lock-in' of high-carbon infrastructure is making it harder and more expensive to meet our energy security and climate goals," said Fatih Birol, IEA Chief Economist. The WEO presents a 450 Scenario, which traces an energy path consistent with meeting the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C. Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permitted to 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already locked-in by existing capital stock, including power stations, buildings and factories. Without further action by 2017, the energy-related infrastructure then in place would generate all the CO2 emissions allowed in the 450 Scenario up to 2035. Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.
Here are some more forecast tidbits from the report:
- Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system. There is still time to act, but the window of opportunity is closing.
- "Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies."
- In the WEO's central New Policies Scenario, which assumes that recent government commitments are implemented in a cautious manner, primary energy demand increases by one-third between 2010 and 2035, with 90% of the growth in non-OECD economies. China consolidates its position as the world’s largest energy consumer: it consumes nearly 70% more energy than the United States by 2035, even though, by then, per capita demand in China is still less than half the level in the United States.
- Renewables increase from 13% of the mix today to 18% in 2035; the growth in renewables is underpinned by subsidies that rise from $64 billion in 2010 to $250 billion in 2035, support that in some cases cannot be taken for granted in this age of fiscal austerity. By contrast, subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to $409 billion in 2010.
- Short-term pressures on oil markets are easing with the economic slowdown and the expected return of Libyan supply. But the average oil price remains high, approaching $120/barrel (in year-2010 dollars) in 2035. Reliance grows on a small number of producers: the increase in output from Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is over 90% of the required growth in world oil output to 2035. If, between 2011 and 2015, investment in the MENA region runs one-third lower than the $100 billion per year required, consumers could face a near-term rise in the oil price to $150/barrel.
- Oil demand rises from 87 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2010 to 99 mb/d in 2035, with all the net growth coming from the transport sector in emerging economies. The passenger vehicle fleet doubles to almost 1.7 billion in 2035. Alternative technologies, such as hybrid and electric vehicles that use oil more efficiently or not at all, continue to advance but they take time to penetrate markets.
- The use of coal -- which met almost half of the increase in global energy demand over the last decade -- rises 65% by 2035. Prospects for coal are especially sensitive to energy policies, notably in China, which today accounts for almost half of global demand. More efficient power plants and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could boost prospects for coal, but the latter still faces significant regulatory, policy and technical barriers that make its deployment uncertain.
- Fukushima Daiichi has raised questions about the future role of nuclear power. In the New Policies Scenario, nuclear output rises by over 70% by 2035, only slightly less than projected last year, as most countries with nuclear programs have reaffirmed their commitment to them.
- The future for natural gas is more certain: its share in the energy mix rises and gas use almost catches up with coal consumption, underscoring key findings from a recent WEO Special Report which examined whether the world is entering a "Golden Age of Gas." One country set to benefit from increased demand for gas is Russia.
- In the New Policies Scenario, cumulative CO2 emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, leading to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5°C. China's per-capita emissions match the OECD average in 2035. Were the new policies not implemented, we are on an even more dangerous track, to an increase of 6°C.
Richard Newell, Associate professor of energy and environmental economics at Duke University, director of the Duke Energy Initiative, and former administrator of the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration, had these comments on the report:
"The World Energy Outlook illustrates the continued dominance of oil for transportation. Even as mature economies moderate oil demand through efficiency and biofuels, emerging economies' oil demand for transport grows by almost 50 percent. The bottom line is, like it or not, we should be prepared for price swings at the pump for some time to come."
"The report fits with other analyses that have concluded that unless something significant changes about our energy technologies, markets and policies, current trends lead to an energy future that looks very much like the present -- just bigger, much bigger. Most of it would be fossil-fueled with little control on greenhouse gas emissions."
As DFJ's Rachel Pike said at her recent TEDx talk, climate change "is the biggest problem you could ever imagine."