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Global News
2019-2-15

Feb 15 (LTIT) - Global demand for coal will survive largely undented for the next 20 years at least unless much stronger action is taken to tackle climate change, according to energy major BP, even as it sharply wound back expectations for coal use in China, the biggest market. The oil giant's closely watched energy outlook envisages growth in coal consumption in its base-case scenario slowing sharply compared to the past 20 years, stagnating at little lower than today's levels through to 2040 as renewable energy powers ahead. The broadly flat worldwide outlook for demand - which is more bearish than last year's outlook - masks stark contrasts among regions however, with OECD demand shrinking, while China also reduces consumption while holding onto its position as the number one user. India and other emerging Asian economies take over as the powerhouse for coal demand, with BP forecasting India's share of global coal consumption more than doubling to about a quarter by 2040. The base-case, "evolving transition" scenario assumes that government policies and technologies and societies continue to develop towards lower carbon-fuels in line with the recent past, but this results in the Paris climate goals being missed and carbon emissions driving higher, rising by 7 per cent by 2040. Growth in global energy demand is significantly slower than in the last 20 years but still expands by about a third. The outlook for coal is much bleaker in BP's "rapid transition" scenario, a scenario roughly in line with the Paris climate targets, with global consumption crashing by 71 per cent, mostly through the substantial decarbonisation of the power generation sector. But even in that scenario, where carbon emissions fall by 45 per cent by 2040, demand for oil remains largely resilient, and together with gas still accounts for half of primary energy demand. In the base case, BP envisages oil demand growing for another 10 years before plateauing in about 2035, as demand still climbs for use in petrochemicals and transportation, despite the rise of electric vehicles, which account for about a quarter of passenger vehicle kilometres by 2040 thanks to the growth of fully autonomous cars and shared mobility services. "The fact that the world would need to invest heavily in oil, almost irrespective of how the global energy system evolves over the next 20 years is something which I don't think is well understood today," said BP chief economist Spencer Dale on releasing the outlook in London overnight Australian time. Renewables see the fastest growth among primary energy sources. BP He said the outlook illustrated the need for trillions of dollars of investment to be able to meet that demand. Renewable energy accelerates ahead in all scenarios, with the base case envisaging renewables will meet half of the world's growth in global energy supplies and become the largest source of power by 2040. Wind power multiplies by a factor of five by 2040, while solar sees double that growth as costs fall.In the EU, renewables are seen capturing more than half the power generation fuel market by 2040, raising increasing issues with managing the intermittency of generation. But the developing world dominates growth in renewables, with China, India and the rest of Asia accounting for almost half the expansion in worldwide renewable power generation. "Renewables are set to penetrate the global energy system more quickly than any fuel previously in history," BP said. Its base case sees renewables growing their share of share of world energy from 1 per cent to 10 per cent in 25 years, accelerating to 15 years in the "rapid transition" scenario. Renewables together with gas are seen accounting for two-thirds of the increase in power generation, with renewables overtaking coal to be the largest source of fuel for electricity by 2040. Natural gas is the only other source of energy which increases its share in primary energy supply through to 2040, growing at 1.7 per cent a year. Gas's growth of almost 50 per cent by 2040 is led by LNG, which accounts for more than 15 per cent of total demand. LNG trade more than doubles in that time to almost 900 billion cubic metres, with the US and Qatar dominating supply, ahead of Australia. In a significant change to BP's outlook last year, India takes over the mantle of the world's largest growth market for energy from China, where demand has been cut by 7 per cent or 300 million tonnes of oil equivalent. BP said the revision reflects expected slower economic growth in China and a shift away from energy-intensive industry, which drive a 37 per cent cut in china's expected coal demand.

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