New EIA Report on Energy/Carbon Dioxide Emissions

The U.S. Energy Information Agency released its latest report on energy trends, International Energy Outlook 2010, yesterday, and several aspects of the analysis are extremely foreboding from the perspective of climate change:

  1. Under a business as usual scenario, world energy consumption is projected to grow by 49% from 2007 to 2035, with 84% growth for non-OECD States v. 14% in OECD States;
  2. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise from 29.7 billion metric tons in 2007 to 33.8 billion metric tons in 2020, and 42.4 billion metric tons in 2035, or 43%;
  • By 2035, the emissions of non-OECD States are projected to be double those of OECD States;
  • Assuming no new climate policies in the interim, projected global increases in in carbon dioxide output per capita and relatively moderate population growth could overwhelm projected improvements in energy intensity and carbon intensity.
    1. The share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources increases from 18% in 2007 to 23% in 2035, increasing at an average rate of 3% annually; however, the second fastest growth source is coal-fired generation, growing at an annual average of 2.3%.

    Of course, as the study emphasizes, these projections assume no changes in energy or climate change policy. In many ways, they emphasize, however, the transformative changes that are necessary to avoid pretty frightening business as usual scenarios. The projections also could afford instructors the opportunity to discuss equity issues associated with burgeoning future emissions from developing countries.

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