Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2023. Robert Lyman’s bio can be read here.
This year, the 2023 version of the Statistical Review of World Energy 2023 was produced by the Energy Institute with partners KPMG and Kearney. It contains full energy data for 2022 and for the preceding years going back to 2012.
In this article, I compare the facts concerning world energy trends as reported in the review with the claims of climate campaigners:
Claim: Renewable Energy Sources are Steadily Replacing Fossil Fuels in the World’s Primary Energy Mix
Of 2022’s total primary energy consumption of 604 exajoules, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) accounted for 494 exajoules, or 82%. Nuclear energy and hydroelectricity provided 10.7%. Renewables supplied 7.5%, and most of that were biofuels. The fossil fuel share is holding roughly constant.
Claim: The World is on the Path to Radical Decarbonization
Since 2012, total CO2-equivalent emissions have increased from 36.6 billion tonnes per year to 39.3 billion tonnes per year. The increase in emissions from 2021 to 2022 was only 0.8%, as the world was still largely in recession.
In 2022, the non-OECD countries produced 68% of global emissions, up from 66% in 2021. China alone produced 30% of the world’s GHG emissions. The United States produced 13.5% of global emissions, Canada 1.5% and Europe 10.0%. The world is not decarbonizing.
Claim: Financial Institution Constraints on Investment are Impairing the Growth in World Fossil Fuel Production
World production of crude oil and condensate liquids increased from 77.4 million barrels per day in 2012 to 81.2 million barrels per day in 2022, an increase of 5%. World production of natural gas increased from 3,326 billion cubic metres in 2012 to 4,043 billion cubic metres in 2022, an increase of 717 billion cubic metres, or 22%. World production of coal increased from 8,188 million tonnes in 2012 to 8,803 million tonnes in 2022, a rise of 615 million tonnes, or 8%.
In short, production of all fossil fuels is increasing despite the efforts of climate campaigners to restrict producers’ access to funds.
Claim: The measures to promote the use of electric vehicles, vehicle fuel efficiency and increased transit use, as well as onerous taxation of motor fuels, are reducing consumption of oil and especially gasoline in the transport sector.
World liquids (i.e., crude oil and natural gas liquids) consumption increased from 90.6 million barrels per day in 2012 to 100.3 million barrels per day in 2022, an increase of 9.7 million barrels per day, or 11%. World consumption of gasoline increased from 21.5 million barrels per day in 2012 to 23.9 million barrels per day in 2022, a rise of 2.4 million barrels per day, or 11%.
In other words, passenger transport-related oil demand continues to rise across the world, in spite of governments’ policies.
Claim: Natural gas consumption is being reduced through regulatory measures.
World consumption of natural gas increased from 3,320 billion cubic metres in 2012 to 3,941 billion cubic metres in 2022, a rise of 621 billion cubic metres, or 19%. Overall, natural gas continues to be one of the fastest growing sources of global energy demand and a key source of clean, reliable energy supply.
Claim: Climate policies are driving coal out of the global energy mix.
World coal consumption rose and fell on a yearly basis within a relatively narrow band over the period 2012 to 2022. Global consumption in 2022 was 161 exajoules, compared to 158 exajoules in 2012, and the highest level since 2014. Coal consumption still shows no signs of significant decline.
Claim: Electricity Generation is growing Fast Enough to Soon Meet Most Energy Needs
Global electricity generation increased from 22,833 terawatt-hours in 2012 to 29,165 terawatt-hours in 2022, a rise of 6,332 terawatt-hours, 28% in eleven years. According to Enerdata, in 2021, the share of electricity in global final energy consumption was only 20.4%.
Global electricity generation increased by 2.3% in 2022, with renewables (including hydro) meeting 84% of net electricity demand growth. Even with unprecedented levels of subsidization and regulatory mandating, the massive investments in wind and solar energy were not even sufficient to keep up with demand growth, let alone displace any existing fossil fuel-based electricity generation.
The data illustrates that almost all the key assertions of climate campaigners about present trends in global energy supply, demand and emissions are flawed. Most importantly, the “world” is not decarbonizing and is not undergoing either a rapid “transition” towards full electrification or replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy.