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AB 2000 studies

Alain Boublil Blog


Energy and the carbon dioxyde emissions in the world

During 71 years, the BP group has published accurate statistics about energy production and consumption country by country and for each energy source. Now, this mission has been granted to the Energy Institute which has just revealed the 2022 results. The year has been characterized by growth slowing everywhere in the world except in India, after the rebound occurred in 2021 coming after the deep recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 2022 has also been affected by the oil and natural gas supply chains perturbations after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the sanctions decided by the Western countries against Moscow.

The report first gives accurate information about the carbon dioxide emissions connected with the production and the utilization of energy and the share each country takes. It allows then to measuring the emissions evolution during the last decade and to identifying the countries which have succeeded in reducing their emissions or in slowing their increase. In 2022, the total volume has been 34 374 million tons, an increase by 0.9% against 2021. But during the last 10 years, we see a very clear trend inflection: between 2012 and 2018, the emissions increase had been 5.5% when during the last five years, it has been only 1%.

The main issuers in 2022 have been China (30%), the United States (14%), India (7.6%), Russia (4%) and Japan (3%). The European Union has contributed to 8% of the world emissions with 1.8% for Germany and 0.8% for France. But all these countries have not had known the same trend these last ten years. China has increased its emissions by 15% and India by 44%. To the contrary, as an average during the period, the U.S. reduced their ones by 0.5% per year, France by 2.2% and Germany and Japan by 1.9% each one.

These disparities come with strong trends spreads regarding primary energy consumption. China and India have increased their ones respectively by 40 and 46%. In the U.S., still on ten years, the increase has only been 6%. The fall is significant in Europe with France (-18%) and Germany (-9%) as in Japan (-10%). The connection is so very close between economic growth, primary energy consumption and the evolution of the carbon dioxide emissions.

Power production has increased in China and in India in ten years by 72 and 70%, but that increase corresponds to a new demand from people and enterprises, and not to a need generated by the reduction of the fossil fuels utilization. In France and in Germany, we see a reduction which is connected with the low growth and with the change toward a less energy consuming society. Power production has fallen by 8% in Germany and 7% in Japan. In France, if we don’t take into account the year 2022 marked by the nuclear plants problems and if we take 2021, we observe an only 3% decrease, power production coming from 565 to 547 TWh. The U.S. constitute an exception among developed economies since, to the contrary, power production has risen between 2012 and 2022 to reach 4547 TWh, a 5.5% increase. But that rise comes also from the stronger economic growth the country has known.

Electrification, which could have constituted an important factor of the reduction of the recourse to fossil fuels energies and so of the greenhouse gas emissions, and could have contributed to the energy transition, has not yet significantly started and fossil energies consumption is still globally progressing but with very high disparities. In ten years, oil utilization has fallen by 10% in France and in Germany and by 20% in Japan. It has increased by 8% in the U.S. and respectively by 43 and 41% in China and in India.

To the opposite, a deep change is occurring on the coal and natural gas markets. In the U.S. coal consumption has fallen by 40% and in Germany by 30%. It remained stable in Japan and has only increased by 10% in China. Only India has known a strong increase (+45%). We see an opposite trend regarding natural gas, even if France and Germany figures in 2022 are affected by the sanctions against Moscow; consumption has increased by 28% in the U.S and has more than doubled in China reaching 375 bnm3. It remained stable in India and has fallen in Japan.

The main utilization of coal and natural gas being power production, it is rightly the substitution to the detriment of the first one and to the profit of the second one which has marked these last ten years. It has been spectacular in the U.S. and it is what has allowed the country to significantly reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. This trend has started in China and the development of natural gas power plants has allowed to slowing the recourse to coal and to reducing the growth of its carbon dioxide emissions. India is not yet at this stage but could follow the way shown by China. Regarding European countries, which had a low use of coal, to the exception of Germany and Poland, it is the renewables and the nuclear production, when it exists, which have allowed the 15% fall of the observed emissions.

At last, the renewables have globally contributed for ten years at the same extent than the substitution between natural gas and coal, to the slowing of the emissions. It is particularly the case in China, in the U.S. and in Germany. Three lessons can be drawn from these figures.

The world has not yet entered a period of energy sobriety. The evolution of the energy consumption and so of its production remains closely dependent of each country growth. The emissions of the OECD members have diminished in 10 years by 12.5% when these of the rest of the world have grown by 16,7%.

In this context two factors have allowed to slow the emission growth, the substitution between coal and natural gas and the development of renewables. But these substitutions have limits in the developed countries and it is far from being sure that in the future they will allow to offset the increase of the emissions of the developing country, especially in Asia. It is why, it will be essential for the developed countries, if they want that the objectives of the Paris Agreement are reached, that they contribute through financing and technology transfers, to the investments in the developing countries in order these ones limit the increase of their emissions.

At last, the figures published by the Energy Institute show the deep inequalities, inside the developed countries between the U.S., even if progresses have been achieved, and Europe and especially France, and between the developed and the developing countries. It is why the European Union, instead of imposing restrictive measures, which could destabilize major industrial sectors and which would deliver emissions reductions which are not at the level of the planet challenges, would do much better to create strategic partnership with the countries which risk to generate a strong increase of their emissions in the future in order to, precisely, limit them.                


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