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Global Energy Consumption Trends for 2010-2040 Essay

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Updated: Nov 25th, 2020

Energy is defined as the capacity to do some work. There are various forms through which energy exists, such as light, heat, potential energy, and mechanical energy, among others. Any living organism requires energy to handle its activities, and it is transferred to objects in order to operate them. The projection by International Energy Outlook 2013 suggests that energy consumption will rise by 56% from 2010 to 2040 (par. 1).

Major cases of increases in energy usage happen in countries that are not members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where demand is driven by long-term economic growth plans. Energy use in non-OECD countries is rising by 90%, while in OECD countries, the rise in usage is increasing by 17% (Xu par. 2). This paper will discuss the trend in global energy consumption from the year 2010 to the year 2040, mainly focusing on natural gases, coal, and petroleum.

Despite the high rate of renewable and nuclear energy growth in recent years, fossil fuel remains the major supplier of world energy, with a consumption of up to 80% globally; here, natural gas is the leading fossil fuel in terms of growth. Other than natural gas, coal usage also increases faster than petroleum, mainly because of increased demand and consumption in China; this, in turn, causes an increase in fuel prices in most parts of the world (Schobert, 84)

Due to the effects of the economic recession in 2008-2009 and other unresolved economic issues, there has been uncertainty on how to assess world energy markets. In recent years, most of the world countries that produce energy have been experiencing improved economic growth due to the increasing demand for energy in the global market. For instance, significant growth has been witnessed in the emerging markets of Asia, including China and India, which have had steady economic growth for the last twenty years.

The world gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to rise at an average rate of 3.6% from 2010 to 2040; non-OECD countries have a higher growth at an average of 4.7%, compared to OECD countries (International Energy Outlook 2013 par. 6). This implies that the consumption of energy in non-OECD countries will increase owing to the economic growth and stability in these regions.

Political unrest in various countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East has led to a significant increase in fuel prices globally, owing to the fact that those countries are the major producers (Zehner, 184). This has led to an increase in fuel prices from around 90 dollars to 130 dollars per barrel since 2013. These figures are, however, projected to rise to 163 dollars per barrel in the year 2040. The result of this increase in fuel prices would be a decline in demand or switching to alternative energy sources that would be more affordable. Efficiency in energy usage would also be promoted through renewable energy, which would enhance environmental protection.

Nevertheless, there is a likelihood of a continuous rise in demand for fuel, with projections showing an average of 4% growth in the production of non-petroleum liquid by the year 2040; this fuel has a lower effect on the environment than other non-renewable forms of energy. Advanced technology in inaccessible regions affects the production of oil, hence causing an increase in prices. According to Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050, global governance is causing uncertainty in the energy sector in the future (33). Nevertheless, there is a need to focus on energy sources whose consumption rate increases rapidly.

Coal is currently the second-largest energy source worldwide, with the consumption rate increasing by 1.3% per year. The expansion of coal consumption is mainly attributed to demand in China, India, and Japan as well as other non-OECD countries all over the globe. The use of coal energy will, however, decline owing to international policies promoting the use of other environment-friendly energy sources.

There are three main countries that lead to the consumption of coal energy sources, namely China, with 47% consumption, followed by the USA with 14%, and finally, India with 7%. Electricity is a reliable source of energy with a projection increase from 20.2 trillion Kilowatt hours to 39.0 trillion kilowatt hours by the year 2040, according to statistics by the International Energy Outlook 2013 (par. 22). Similarly, the total generation of electricity in non-OECD countries is going to increase annually by an average rate of 3.1%, compared to 1.1 % in OECD countries from 2010 to 2040.

Consumption of energy in various sectors of the economy, such as industrial, building, and transportation ones, varies depending on the size of an economy and availability of resources. In residential buildings, world consumption will increase annually by an average rate of 1.5% from 2010 to 2040. According to these statistics from International Energy Outlook 2013, most of this “growth in residential energy consumption occurs in non-OECD nations, where robust economic growth improves standards of living and increases the demand for residential energy” (par. 29).

There is also a trend towards eliminating non-market energy sources such as wood waste in favor of fuels, such as electricity and propane which are cleaner sources of energy. Residential energy consumption by non-OECD regions increases by 2.5% per year, compared to 0.4% annually for OECD countries.

In the industrial sector, the economic crisis of 2008-2009 interfered with production so that the demand of energy declined (Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050 23), as firms tried to avoid losses from harsh economic conditions. Non-OECD countries tend to be the major consumers of energy, especially through their production processes. Due to changes in the manufacturing industry and service economies, non-OECD countries have experienced a slow projected economic growth and the total energy consumption in those regions is expected to grow by 0.6% annually from 2010 to 2040. On the other hand, OECD countries show rapid projected economic growth, with their total energy use averaging 1.8% annually from 2010 to 2040.

The transport sector is also one of the main consumers of energy through automobiles, air travel, and rail transport. According to the International Energy Outlook 2013, demand of energy in the transport sector is driven by the increasing urbanization trends, especially in non-OECD countries, the result of which is increasing fuel prices. As predicted by IEO 2013, the transport energy usage of OECD countries has grown by an average of 2.2% annually from the year 2010 and is expected to continue growing even up to 2040.

All in all, the future of energy consumption is likely to witness tremendous growth owing to economic empowerment and growth around the globe and increased investment, especially in manufacturing, transport, and building sectors. Moreover, there is likely to be a trend towards renewable energy despite the fact that fossil fuels remain the main source of energy in the current global environment. Nevertheless, even with growth in demand of fuel, it would be important to focus on efficiency and environment conservation when producing and supplying energy (Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050 9).

Works Cited

US Energy Information Administration. 2013. Web.

Schobert, Harold. Energy and Society. FL: CRC Press, 2014. Print.

Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050: An era of volatile transitions. 2011. Print.

Xu, Conglin. “Oil and Gas Journal. 2013. Web.

Zehner, Ozzie. Clean Energy’s Dirty Secrets. Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2012. Print.

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