Washington, DC—The global energy landscape has experienced substantial changes over the last 25 years, and much larger changes are potentially in store for our collective future. Resources for the Future (RFF) today is releasing the Global Energy Outlook 2019: The Next Generation of Energy. The report is the think tank’s review of global energy market projections by leading international energy organizations and corporations from around the world. Among the key findings:
- Under most scenarios, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the global energy system are on a path to far exceed international targets of the Paris Agreement. CO2 emissions grow from 32 billion metric tons (bmt) in 2015 to as high as 43 bmt, while the most ambitious climate scenarios show emissions falling below 20 bmt by 2040.
- Fossil fuels made up 82 percent of global primary energy in 2015, and under most projections the total amount of fossil fuel consumption increases through 2040. Overall levels of fossil fuel consumption only decrease under scenarios with ambitious climate policies and large-scale deployment of new technologies.
- Coal loses market share across all outlooks. Under the most ambitious scenarios for addressing climate change, coal declines from 28 percent of the global energy mix in 2015 to between 12 percent and 17 percent by 2040.
- Renewables—led by wind and solar—grow under all projections, and in the most ambitious climate scenarios they become the largest source of global energy, overtaking petroleum to reach as high as 31 percent of consumption in 2040.
- The global energy system is becoming more electrified. In 1990 and 2015, electricity met about 13 percent and 18 percent of global final energy demand, respectively. By 2040, that number increases to between 20 percent to 24 percent according to most projections. Under ambitious climate scenarios, electrification meets up to 36 percent of global final energy demand.
RFF President Richard G. Newell explained the importance of the new research: “The new report provides an analysis of long-term energy projections from governmental, intergovernmental, and private organizations using a unique methodology that allows for ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons.”
The new report is accompanied by an interactive web tool, which allows users to visualize, compare, and download harmonized data from each projection. The tool can be accessed at www.rff.org/geo.
Along with Dr. Newell, the report is authored by RFF Senior Research Associate Daniel Raimi and RFF Research Assistant Gloria Aldana. The Global Energy Outlook 2019 includes projections from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, BP, Equinor, ExxonMobil, the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan, the International Energy Agency, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Shell, and the US Energy Information Administration.
The only report of its kind, RFF’s Global Energy Outlook 2019 harmonizes analyses from other organizations to allow for a clear understanding and easy comparison of potential future energy markets, energy security scenarios, climate trajectories, and policy options at global, regional, and national levels.
Also at noon today, there will be a discussion of the new report with Richard Newell, Daniel Raimi, and Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Senior Vice President Sarah Ladislaw.
The discussion will be moderated by Axios Energy Reporter Ben Geman. Please register here to watch the live webcast or attend in person.
Panelists will explore some of the potential outlooks for energy markets, such as coal consumption in China, oil consumption in India, solar power in the United States, and associated carbon dioxide emissions. They will also address the role that energy projections play in shaping decisions of lawmakers, business leaders, and more.
Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.
Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and may differ from those of other RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals.