Energy Demand in 2050

power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light and heat or to work machines.
Origin: mid 16th century (denoting force or vigour of expression): from French énergie, or via late Latin from Greek energeia, from en- 'in, within' + ergon 'work'.
Oxford Dictionary

'If only’ energy resources weren’t a constraint and we could continue using energy the way we use it today, our World in 2050 would require:

  1. A 110% increase in oil demand to more than 190 million barrels a day to fuel the extra billion cars that are likely to be on the road as emerging world incomes increase.
  2. A doubling in total energy demand as emerging market growth powers ahead.
  3. A doubling in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, more than three and a half times the amount recommended to keep temperatures at a safe level.

Of course, our ‘if only’ scenario is merely a fantasy. In reality:

  1. Fossil fuels aren’t abundant.
  2. They aren’t evenly spread across the global population, which gives rise to issues of energy security and geopolitical tension.
  3. There are worrying signs of climate change.

HSBC Report 2011

In this session we are asking the question "After oil and coal what?". But how much is left today?

oil left

Two very interesting - and a bit contrasting reports - were produced in 2011 about our energy demand in 2050.

  1. HSBC Report (22 March 2011) "Energy in 2050: Will fuel constraints thwart our growth projections?"
  2. WWF, EcoFys (2011) "THE ENERGY REPORT: 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2050"



What did they predict?

1. The HSBC report predictions:


2. The WWF/Ecofys report predictions:




And what did they conclude?

1. The HSBC report conclusion:

The era of cheap fuel that has now unambiguously ended has resulted in a low innovation, somewhat complacent energy system. Technological and political inertia often still block the long-term options that intrinsically cut resource, carbon and energy risks. Government foresight on a scale not seen for 40 years will be needed to chart the route for the next 40 – at a time when the public sector in the OECD has perhaps the least capacity in decades to make strategic investments in new infrastructure. he repeated shocks of economic turbulence from an unsustainable energy system may be the only way to push policy in the right direction.

2. The WWF/Ecofys report conclusion:

A fully renewable global energy system is possible worldwide: we can reach a 95% sustainably sourced energy supply by 2050. There are upfront investments required to make this transition in the coming decades (1–2% of global GDP), but they will turn into a positive cash flow after 2035, leading to a positive annual result of 2% of GDP in 2050.



Which report do you think is the most realistic?

Powering the Future - 01 - The Energy Revolution (2010)


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