© Bloomberg. People tend to vegetables growing in a field as emission rises from cooling towers at a coal-fired power station in Tongling, Anhui province, China, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. China’s economy expanded at its weakest pace since 2009, according to figures Monday, with gross domestic product rising 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — BP’s Annual Statistical Review of World Energy has tracked the ups and downs of the global energy system for more than 50 years. The latest edition, published on Tuesday, highlighted the scale of the task the world faces if fossil fuels are to become history. Here are five key trends from this year’s report.
1. Emissions surged
Global carbon emissions jumped the most in seven years in 2018 as energy demand surged, indicating the world is falling behind in its efforts to rein in climate change. There may be better news this year as plunging prices prompts a shift from coal, but it shows the scale of the challenge.
2. Driven by U.S. production…
America’s energy boom set an extraordinary pace in 2018. The U.S. had the biggest one-year gain in oil and gas production posted by any country in history. Even Saudi Arabia never managed to add 2.2 million barrels a day of crude output in a single year.
3. …and Asia consumption
Asia’s two economic giants, China and India, continued to drive the jump in energy demand (and carbon emissions) as more air conditioners, TVs and refrigerators boosted electricity consumption. Two-thirds of the growth in oil use came from these two countries.
4. Coal’s unchecked power
Coal continues to be the dominant fuel in power generation despite the world searching for cleaner alternatives and the biggest oil companies aggressively promoting cleaner-burning gas. The dirtiest fuel accounted for almost 40% of electricity last year, a level that’s held almost constant for 20 years.
5. Renewables rising
It’s not all doom and gloom though. The review shows supply of renewable energy is rising fast, especially in China. It’s just not enough to account for the extra demand for power coming from emerging markets.
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