There is zero chance that any developing country will stop their CO2 emissions increases until they have achieved the same levels of per capita energy consumption that we have here in the U.S. and in Europe.
Undoubtedly you read at least some organs of the mainstream media. Perhaps your go-to source is the New York Times, or maybe the Washington Post, or Bloomberg News, or The Economist, or maybe Reuters. And therefore you have the strong impression that the world is well on its way to a huge energy transition, away from the dirty fossil fuels of the past, and toward the low carbon and renewable energy of the future. Or maybe you steer clear of all of those propagandists, but you still have the same impression. Perhaps you are getting this impression from the politicians running places like New York, or California, or Germany, or Denmark, or South Australia, or Spain, or any of many other holier-than-thou jurisdictions that have announced the imminent end of their fossil fuel use. Anyway, with so many people so loudly proclaiming the approaching end of fossil fuels, surely by now fossil fuel use must have begun its rapid drop toward oblivion.
But where can you get actual information on world energy consumption of each type, and of how it is changing over time? One quite comprehensive source is the Statistical Review of World Energy, put out each year by the BP oil company. The 2019 version, covering statistics through 2018, just came out on June 11. It was covered at Watts Up With That by Larry Hamlin on July 23.
The following chart, covering 2018 world energy consumption by fuel type, really tells you all you need to know:
In simple terms, world consumption of all the fossil fuel types continues to increase, and at fairly rapid rates. There was a notable pick-up in the rates of increase from 2017 to 2018. The “renewables,” like wind and solar — represented by that tiny red-orange band in the middle — have increased somewhat from a tiny base, but remain a barely-perceptible portion of the overall total.
Much of the interesting information in the Review appears in spreadsheets rather than graphs, so to get the most out of the report you need to spend some time with pages full of numbers. Hamlin has done some of that work for us, and comes up with some interesting statistics derived from BP’s spreadsheets. Examples:
- The results for the last decade show that global energy use grew by 18.5% during the last decade with 98.5% of that energy growth accounted for by the developing nations.
- The developing nations represented about 51% of global energy use in 2008 and ended the decade accounting for over 59% of global energy use.
- Energy use growth by the developing nations during the last decade occurred at a rate 5.5 times greater than the flat growth rate that occurred in the developed nations.
In the graph category, this next one nicely illustrates the total futility of the U.S. and Europe trying to “save the planet” by reducing coal consumption:
The “Asia Pacific” category in that chart includes not just China and India, but also places like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Clearly, the increases in their coal consumption are swamping — and will continue to swamp — any modest reductions that Western nations can achieve by hobbling their economies.