International Energy Outlook 2011 (IEO2011) released Sept. 19 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presents updated projections for world energy markets through 2035. The IEO2011 reference case projection does not incorporate prospective legislation or policies that might affect energy markets.
Worldwide energy consumption grows by 53 percent between 2008 and 2035 in the reference case, with much of the increase driven by strong economic growth in the developing nations, especially China and India. "China and India account for half of the projected increase in world energy use over the next 25 years. China alone, which only recently became the world's top energy consumer, is projected to use 68 percent more energy than the United States by 2035," said acting EIA administrator Howard Gruenspecht.
Some key findings:
- China and India lead the growth in world demand for energy in the future. The economies of China and India were among those least affected by the worldwide recession. They continue to lead world economic growth and energy demand growth in the reference case. In 2008, China and India combined accounted for 21 percent of total world energy consumption. With strong economic growth in both countries over the projection period, their combined energy use more than doubles by 2035, when they account for 31 percent of world energy use in the IEO2011 reference case. In 2035, China's energy demand is 68 percent higher than U.S. energy demand.
- Renewable energy is projected to be the fastest growing source of primary energy over the next 25 years, but fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy. Renewable energy consumption increases by 2.8 percent per year and the renewable share of total energy use increases from 10 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2035 in the reference case. Fossil fuels, however, continue to supply much of the energy used worldwide throughout the projection, and still account for 78 percent of world energy use in 2035. While the reference case projections reflect current laws and policies as of the start of 2011, past experience suggests that renewable energy deployment is often significantly affected by policy changes.
- Natural gas has the fastest growth rate among the fossil fuels over the 2008 to 2035 projection period. World natural gas consumption increases 1.6 percent per year, from 111 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 169 trillion cubic feet in 2035. Unconventional natural gas (tight gas, shale gas and coal bed methane) supplies increase substantially in the IEO2011 reference case—especially from the U.S., but also from Canada and China.
- World oil prices remain high in the IEO2011 reference case, but oil consumption continues to grow—both conventional and unconventional liquid supplies are used to meet rising demand. In the IEO2011 reference case the price of light sweet crude oil (in real 2009 dollars) remains high, reaching $125 per barrel in 2035. Total world petroleum and other liquids fuel use increases by 26.9 million barrels per day between 2008 and 2035, but the growth in conventional crude oil production is less than half this amount at 11.5 million barrels per day, while production of natural gas plant liquids increase by 5.1 million barrels per day, world production of unconventional resources (including biofuels, oil sands, extra-heavy oil, coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids), which totaled 3.9 million barrels per day in 2008, increases to 13.1 million barrels per day in 2035.
Other report highlights include:
- From 2008 to 2035, total world energy consumption rises by an average annual 1.6 percent in the IEO2011 reference case. Strong economic growth among the non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations drives the increase. Non-OECD energy use increases by 2.3 percent per year. In the OECD countries energy use grows by only 0.6 percent per year.
- Petroleum and other liquid fuels remain the largest energy source worldwide through 2035, though projected higher oil prices erode their share of total energy use from 34 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2035.
- Projected petroleum consumption and prices are very sensitive to both supply and demand conditions. Higher economic growth in developing countries coupled with reduced supply from key exporting countries result in a High Oil Price case in which real oil prices exceed $169 per barrel by 2020 and approach $200 per barrel by 2035. Conversely, lower economic growth in developing countries coupled with increased supplies from key exporting countries result in a Low Oil Price case in which real oil prices fall to about $55 per barrel in 2015, and then gradually decline to $50 per barrel after 2030 where they remain through 2035.
- World coal consumption increases from 139 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 209 quadrillion Btu in 2035, at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent in the IEO2011 reference case. In the absence of policies or legislation that would limit the growth of coal use, China and, to a lesser extent, India and the other nations of non-OECD Asia consume coal in place of more expensive fuels. China alone accounts for 76 percent of the projected net increase in world coal use, and India and the rest of non-OECD Asia account for another 19 percent of the increase.
- Electricity is the world's fastest-growing form of end-use energy consumption in the reference case, as it has been for the past several decades. Net electricity generation worldwide rises by 2.3 percent per year on average from 2008 to 2035. Renewables are the fastest growing source of new electricity generation, increasing by 3.0 percent and outpacing the average annual increases for natural gas (2.6 percent), nuclear power (2.4 percent) and coal (1.9 percent).
- The transportation sector accounted for 27 percent of total world delivered energy consumption in 2008, and transportation energy use increases by 1.4 percent per year from 2008 to 2035. The transportation share of world total liquids consumption increases from 54 percent in 2008 to 60 percent in 2035 in the IEO2011 reference case, accounting for 82 percent of the total increase in world liquids consumption
- In the IEO2011 reference case, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from 30.2 billion metric tons in 2008 to 43.2 billion metric tons in 2035—an increase of 43 percent. Much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations of the world, especially in Asia.
For a full copy of the International Energy Outlook 2011, click here.
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The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.
"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."
The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.
They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.
They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.
But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.
"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.
What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.
It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.
To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.
First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.
Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.
University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.
"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."
Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.
"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.
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