Energy Use Set to Jump 50% by 2035

May 25, 2010
Developing nations will drive growth -- and pollution, U.S. government report says.

World energy consumption is expected to jump by nearly 50% by 2035, led by developing nations such as China and India, the U.S. government said in a report Tuesday.

As consumption increases, Asia will also account for most of energy-linked pollution blamed for global warming, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy.

China and India, among those least impacted by the recent global recession, "will continue to lead the world's economic and energy demand growth into the future," the EIA said in the report for the 2007-2035 period.

It forecast that global energy consumption would rise 49% to 739 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) in 2035 from 495 quadrillion Btu in 2007.

Analysts often measure energy in Btus. Because a single BTU is so small, energy is usually measured in thousands or millions of Btus. For entire economies, energy is measured in quadrillion Btus, or "quads" for short.

In 2007, China and India together accounted for about 20% of total world energy consumption.

With strong economic growth in both countries over the 2007-2035 projection period, their combined energy use "more than doubles" by 2035, when they account for 30% of global consumption, the report said.

In contrast, the projected share of world energy consumption in the United States, the world's biggest energy guzzler at present, would fall from 21% in 2007 to about 16% in 2035.

The EIA also forecast that energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, a key cause of global warming, would jump by 43% to 42.4 billion tonnes in 2035 from 29.7 billion tonnes in 2007.

"Much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations of the world, especially in Asia," it said.

The global recession since 2007 sparked by a financial crisis in the United States continued into 2009 and has had a profound impact on near-term prospects for world energy demand, the report said.

The report is based on an assumption that "current policies are unchanged."

It did not cite the mounting European debt crisis which has shaken financial markets in recent weeks and threatens to dampen the fragile global economic recovery.

Energy consumption contracted by 1.2% in 2008 and by an estimated 2.2% in 2009, as manufacturing and consumer demand for goods and services declined, the report said.

It also forecast that average world oil prices could rise to $108 per barrel by 2020 and further to $133 per barrel by 2035.

Oil prices increased strongly from 2003 to mid-July 2008, then declined sharply over the rest of 2008 amid the worst recession in decades. In 2009, oil prices again trended upward.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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