(16 August 2021) In order to limit the rise in global temperatures to the targets established in the Paris agreement, economies need to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The most developed countries, as well as the biggest emitters, are announcing targets designed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and even earlier. Achieving these goals, however, will require significantly restructuring of the energy sector to use carbon-free (renewable and nuclear) energy sources and low-carbon fuels (biofuels, hydrogen).

This dashboard presents forecasts from the two leading international agencies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and BP International, for ongoing changes in energy demand and supply in the coming decades under a variety of scenarios.

The IEA presented two forecasts (the Stated Policies Scenario and the Sustainable Development Scenario) in its September 2020 World Energy Outlook, as well as a third forecast in its Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap published in May 2021. The first two scenarios show the potential future shifts in demand dependent on the degree of future changes that occur. The Roadmap forecast, on the other hand, shows the changes that would need to be implemented in order to reach carbon neutrality by the mid 21st century. Scenario details and visualizations can be found below. Some highlights:

  • Under the IEA Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS), the most rapid shift in primary energy demand will occur in Europe and the United States, which expect a decrease of 227 and 187 million metric tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in energy demand, respectively, by 2030. Global energy demand in coal, under the STEPS forecast, will drop by 271 Mtoe during the period from 2019 to 2030, while demand for oil and natural gas will grow by 249 and 475 Mtoe, respectively.
  • Under the IEA's Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), on the other hand, global coal demand would shrink by 1,531 Mtoe by 2030, and oil demand by 562 Mtoe, while natural gas demand would be unchanged. Renewable energy demand, in contrast, would grow by 1,514 Mtoe by the end of the decade.
  • The IEA's "Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap" shows that the share of renewables in the energy supply should reach 66% by 2050 to meet the net-zero emission goal, while in electricity generation the share of renewables should be 88% by 2050. Overall energy demand and supply are expected to decrease due to electrification of transport and improvements in energy efficiency, while electric power generation will increase to 2.6 times the current level.

BP International presented three different energy production and consumption scenarios in its 2020 Energy Outlook: Business-As-Usual, Rapid Transition, and Net Zero. Details and visualizations for each scenario can be found below. Highlights:

  • The Business-As-Usual scenario expects that the share of fossil fuels in primary energy demand would decrease to 66.6% by 2050 from the current 84.6%. Energy demand would increase by the middle of the century, reflected in a projected growth in gas consumption of 37%, as well as growth of 492% in renewable energy consumption.
  • In the Rapid Transition scenario, fossil fuels would represent 39.6% of primary energy demand by 2050. Energy demand would rise slightly by 2050; fossil fuels energy consumption would decrease, including natural gas consumption, which would decline after reaching its peak in 2035; renewable energy consumption would rise dramatically, from the current 27.1 exajoules to 277 exajoules at mid-century.
  • Under the Net Zero scenario, the energy demand would also rise slightly by 2050, and fossil fuels would represent 21.7% of primary energy demand. The share of renewables in energy demand could reach 68% by 2050. In India, the share of non-fossil fuels (including nuclear energy) could rise to 76% of total consumption by 2050; the share could rise to 67% in China and to an average of 73% among OECD member states. 

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