⚡ Evolution of world energy consumption
Image: Trends in world energy consumption from 1965 to 2035. Source: BP PLC
"the missing link between the animal and the civilized man; it is us." Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989), Austrian biologist.
Always more energy!
The global demand for primary energy (oil, gas, coal, hydraulic, nuclear, renewables) is still increasing. Energy consumption piles up inexorably on top of each other without ever disappearing or even slowing down.
The effects of industrialization and the negative feedback loops appear to us to be more and more indisputable (global warming, melting of sea ice and glaciers, melting of permafrost, rising sea levels and marine erosion, cyclones, displacement of populations, desertification, industrial pollution, loss of biodiversity, erosion of mineral resources, etc.).
These alarmist observations oblige us to a strong and rapid reduction of carbon energies because these catastrophes observed until then could be only small warnings.
We have fully understood our responsibility in climate change and we have known for more than 20 years what must be done.
Despite technical innovations and global awareness of the climate emergency, we do not see any change in energy consumption, nor energy transition and therefore a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (except the reduction in 7% in 2020 linked to the containment measures taken against Covid-19).
Everything happens as if we had already accepted the irreversibility of the announced catastrophes. This phenomenon is called the "bystander effect". In an emergency, the more witnesses there are, the lower the chance that someone will intervene (responsibility is diffuse).
Certainly, reducing our consumption and renouncing the growth that has accompanied us for 150 years seems impossible on a global scale because the inequalities between countries are too great.
Unfortunately, the world is shrinking little by little, resources are increasingly difficult to extract, biodiversity is collapsing, climatic catastrophes are accelerating, crises are parallelizing and geopolitical conflicts are intensifying.
In addition, the phenomenon is persistent because CO2 is extremely stable and will last long after we have implemented our solutions.
Before achieving sustainable development, humanity as a whole will have to adapt to increasingly strong environmental pressure.
It is mainly the energy sector (responsible for 70% of global emissions) that should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. However, experts predict a growth of 1.3% per year in energy demand until 2035. Most surprisingly, oil, gas and coal will remain the primary sources of energy fueling the global economy.
The demand for oil (transport and petrochemicals) is growing at an average rate of 0.7% per year and this should continue until 2035.
Gas demand is growing even faster, reaching an average of 1.6% per year. Its share of primary energy will become the second source of fuel by 2035.
Coal consumption will continue to increase until it peaks in the year 2025.
Renewables are expected to have the fastest growth. Experts predict an average growth of 7.6% per year due to solar and wind energy.
Thanks to the evolution of the energy mix, the growth of carbon dioxide emissions is slowing down. However, emissions should continue to grow and reach an average of 0.6 % per year compared to 2.1 % in 2023. However, emissions should decrease by 5% per year until 2035 to remain on a trajectory at +2°C of the average temperature.
In summary, our civilization has become completely dependent on increasing energy consumption. Even if the world population tends to stabilize, if the use of coal decreases, if the development of renewable energies accelerates and if the electrification of transport is underway everywhere in the world, it seems that it is too late. We won't have time to reverse the trend because the CO2 has been stored for too long in our greenhouse.
Our unsustainable way of life presents us with a huge global challenge. This will force us to deeply review our behavior with other species and the entire planet Earth.
If we don't find technological solutions to all these problems very quickly, the situation is lost in advance, unless the planet finds a solution for us!!!