Oil Demand May Have Peaked in 2019, BP Report Says
This suggestion comes from an unlikely source: fossil-fuel giant BP. The company released its annual Energy Outlook report Monday, and found that oil demand may have already peaked in 2019, as the rise in renewable energy intersects with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reported.
"(The energy transition) would be an unprecedented event," BP chief economist Spencer Dale told journalists, as Reuters reported. "Never in modern history has the demand for any traded fuel declined in absolute terms."
The report outlines three possible energy scenarios for the next 30 years.
- The Rapid Transition Scenario (Rapid): This envisions a scenario in which energy-based greenhouse-gas emissions decline 70 percent by 2050, in line with limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
- The Net-Zero Scenario (Net Zero): This scenario imagines the policies adapted in the Rapid scenario are augmented by widespread lifestyle changes, and energy emissions decline by more than 95 percent by 2050, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
- The Business-as-Usual Scenario (BAU): This imagines that climate policies continue at a pace consistent with the past several years, and emissions only decline to less than 10 percent of 2018 levels by 2050.
In the first two scenarios, BP concluded oil demand would already have peaked in 2019, according to The Guardian. In the third, it would plateau after 2019 and peak sometime in the mid-2020s, according to BP.
However, all three scenarios show oil and gas on the wane and renewable energy on the rise, Reuters reported. They show fossil fuels falling from 85 percent of energy demand in 2018 to 20 to 65 percent by 2050. Meanwhile, they show renewable technologies like wind and solar expanding from five percent of energy demand in 2018 to 20 to 60 percent by 2050, according to Reuters and The Guardian.
"In all three of these scenarios the share of renewable energy grows more quickly than any energy fuel ever seen in history," Dale told The Guardian.
The coronavirus is expected to speed the decline in oil demand in part because it is slowing economic growth in developing countries, which tend to drive energy demand. At the same time, many developed countries are upping their climate ambitions and carbon taxes.
The report comes the same year that BP announced plans to be an entirely carbon-neutral energy company by 2050. Monday's report seemingly supports Chief Executive Bernard Looney's plan to "reinvent" the company, Reuters pointed out. It was released as the company begins a three-day event outlining its plans to transition its energy sources.
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.
She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.
"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.
She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.
This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.
"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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