Over the past decade, countries around the world have been working to address the risks associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions. Global emission growth patterns are already changing – reflecting the more widespread use of energy-efficient technologies and less carbon-intensive energy sources. After decades of growth, energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to plateau around 2030, despite a steady rise in overall energy demand. From 2010 to 2040, the Outlook shows the growth rate of global CO2 emissions will be about half that of energy demand.
Climate change policies will play a key role in limiting the growth of greenhouse gas in the future
Policies related to GHG emissions, and carbon emissions in particular, remain uncertain. But, for purposes of the outlook to 2040, ExxonMobil assumes a cost of carbon as a proxy for a wide variety of potential policies that might be adopted by governments over time to help stem GHG emissions such as carbon emissions standards, renewable portfolio standards and others.
As seen in the electricity generation sector, these policies are likely to have a direct and significant impact on the fuel choices made by individual countries, including a shift away from coal as CO2 costs rise. The exact nature and the pace of GHG policy initiatives will likely be affected by their impact on the economy, economic competitiveness, energy security and the ability of individuals to pay the related costs.
Greenhouse gas emissions related to energy use are projected to plateau by 2030
A notable finding again in this year’s Outlook is that CO2 emissions are likely to peak in 2030 due to efficiency gains and a gradual transition to less carbon intensive energy supplies.
Globally, from 2010 to 2040, the rate of increase of CO2 emissions will be about half that of energy demand growth. Two factors impact this: the wise and efficient use of energy and a shift to less carbon-intensive fuels. Of these factors, the most important over the Outlook relates to improving efficiency of energy use as people continue to improve their living standards.
In fact, emissions patterns through 2040 will vary greatly between OECD and Non OECD countries, reflecting the different stages of economic development and varying degrees and types of energy used at a national level.