BP: Emissions growth rate will decline, but level of carbon emissions continues to grow

Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist, BP

LONDON – The growth rate of carbon emissions more than halves during 2014-2035 relative to the previous 20 years, driven by faster efficiency gains and the changing fuel mix: 0.9% per annum, compared with 2.9%.

Given that the world economy is projected to grow only slightly slower than the historical trend, this represents a significant degree of “decoupling” of carbon emissions from economic growth, according to BP.

This decoupling reflects significant increases that are expected in the decline of energy intensity (the volume of energy used per unit of wealth creation) and carbon intensity (carbon emissions per unit of energy consumption).

However, despite the slowdown in emissions growth, the level of carbon emissions continues to grow, increasing by 20% between 2014 and 2035.

The world is embarking on a transition to a lower-carbon energy system. The pledges made by participating countries in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) ahead of the COP21 meeting in Paris, and the level of agreement reached in Paris, have increased our confidence that the world will achieve this break from past trends.

The widening gap between the projected path for emissions and, for example, the IEA’s 450 Scenario, illustrates the remaining challenge, despite the expected reduction in the growth of carbon emissions. The 450 Scenario adopts a specified outcome – the international goal to limit the rise in the long-term average global temperature to two degrees Celsius (2 °C) – and illustrates how it might be achieved. 1 of 3

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Dale Spencer, BP Group Chief Economist presented the company's annual energy outlook.