Troubling news for the planet comes this week from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA). Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, says that global oil consumption will continue to grow to 2040 , despite the Paris Climate Change Agreement reached last year to try to cap greenhouse emissions. Birol made his remarks as the IEA publishes its annual World Energy Outlook report, forecasting global energy supply and demand to 2040.
The much-touted Paris Accord hopes to wean the world off fossil fuels in the second half of the century in an effort to limit the rise in average world temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
However, the accord may not survive a new Trump presidency. The president-elect has called the notion of man-made climate change a “hoax,” and has vowed to cancel the U.S. role in the historic accord.
Automobile oil consumption, a major greenhouse gas contributor, will indeed fall the IEA says, but the drop will be offset by gains in other sectors. “The difficulty of finding alternatives to oil in road freight, aviation and petrochemicals means that, up to 2040, the growth in these three sectors alone is greater than the growth in global oil demand,” the IEA adds.
Birol said that the era of fossil fuels appears to be far from being over. “Today 81% of global energy comes from fossil fuels and in 2040, even if all the pledges are implemented, this share will go down to 74%,” he said.
Under the IEA’s central scenario to 2040, global oil demand is set to grow almost 12% to 103.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2040, compared with 92.5 million bpd in 2015. However, oil could peak before 2040, even as early as 2020, if more stringent action is taken to battle climate change, the IEA claims.
The Wall Street Journal said that Birol’s comments have added to a debate over when oil consumption, which has steadily grown for decade, will begin a sustained decline, a change known as peak demand.