Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2018
Robert Lyman is an Ottawa energy policy consultant, former public servant of 27 years and diplomat for 10 years prior to that.
In June, 2018 British Petroleum (BP) published its absolutely invaluable annual statistical review of world energy. As has been its practice for a few years, BP introduced the document by describing market developments in terms of whether they are good or bad for “the transition”. The transition in question is the alleged conversion of the world’s energy economy from one dominated by fossil fuels to one in which renewable energy plays the larger role.
The numbers presented in the report show that an entirely different kind of transition is underway than that advocated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations. As has been the case for many years, oil, natural gas and coal continue to dominate energy production and consumption, and the fastest growing energy source is natural gas.
The numbers I find especially interesting, however, are the ones presented on carbon dioxide emissions. Global emissions grew in 2017 by 1.6%, a trend that will not produce smiles in Brussels. I dug down a bit to see the percentage changes in emissions by country from 2010 to 2017. A list follows:
United States – down 7.6%
Canada – up 6.5%
Germany – down 2.1%
United Kingdom – down 24.8%
Japan – down 0.4%
China – up 13.9%
India – up 41%
OECD – down 4.0%
Non-OECD – up 16.0%
World – up 7.6%
So the British are the only ones “transitioning” in the direction to which BP refers. The U.K., however, constitutes just over 1% of global emissions.
The Americans, despite all the invective thrown their way, are one of the leaders in emissions reduction.
Canada, negating all the claims of our Liberal Government, continues to go in precisely the opposite direction that the government claims it must.
China, which now constitutes 28% of global emissions, continues its rapid growth, with India striving mightily to surpass it.
The Non-OECD region increased emissions by 2892 megatonnes from 2010 to 2017, while the OECD emissions declined by 523 megatonnes.
The United Nations goal set at COP21 and elsewhere is that global emissions decline to around 15 gigatonnes by 2050; the 2017 total stood at 33.4 gigatonnes and rising. I wonder how long these trends must continue before the nature of the public dialogue changes.
The BP report can be read here: