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Global insights

The world transitions to a lower carbon energy mix as renewables penetrate rapidly at the expense of fossil fuels, but with significant variation between scenarios

Highlights

22% to 59%

Share of renewables in 2050, up from 5% in 2018

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22% to 67%

Share of fossil fuels in 2050, down from 85% in 2018

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34% to 52%

Share of electricity in total final consumption in 2050

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Global energy demand grows in all three scenarios, driven by increasing levels of prosperity in emerging economies
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Under all three scenarios, the share of renewables in the energy mix increases significantly
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The world continues to electrify, leading the power sector to play a central role in the global energy system

Projections

  • Energy demand grows by 0.3% p.a. in Rapid and Net Zero and 0.7% p.a. in Business-as-usual (BAU). This is significantly slower than the past 20 years, reflecting weaker economic growth and faster improvements in energy intensity.
  • Between 2018 and 2050 net carbon emissions from energy use decline by 10% in BAU, 72% in Rapid and 96% in Net Zero.
  • Global energy intensity declines in all three scenarios. In BAU it declines by 45% and by 53% in both Rapid and Net Zero.
  • The industrial sector remains the largest consumer of energy, albeit with small declines in its share under all three scenarios.
  • Energy demand from the transport sector grows by 0.7% p.a. in both Rapid and Net Zero and by 0.9% p.a. in BAU. However, growth is significantly slower than the past 20 years (2.2% p.a.).
  • Oil and coal consumption decline in all three scenarios. For oil, the decline ranges from 10% to 78%. For coal the decline is more marked, ranging from 22% to 92%.
  • The outlook for gas is more durable than either coal or oil. Consumption in 2050 increases by 35% in BAU and drops by 4% in Rapid and 41% in Net Zero.
  • Nuclear gains share in the energy mix in all scenarios, reaching 7% BAU, 9% in Rapid and 10% in Net Zero.
  • On average, renewable energy consumption grows every year by 5.7% in BAU, 7.5% in Rapid and 8.5% in Net Zero, aided by falling costs of production and policies encouraging a shift to lower carbon energy sources.
  • The share of primary energy absorbed by the power sector increases from 43% in 2018 to 53% in BAU and 61% in both Rapid and Net Zero.
  • Global carbon emissions decline by 10% in BAU, 72% in Rapid and 96% in Net Zero between 2018 and 2050.
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