IEA: Developments in China and India Transforming the Global Energy System; Alarming Consequences for All Countries
08 November 2007
|With primary energy demand by 2030 rising 55% in the reference scenario for WEO 2007, coal sees the biggest increase in demand followed by oil and natural gas. Click to enlarge.|
Energy developments in China and India are transforming the global energy system as a result of their sheer size and their growing importance in international energy markets, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2007.
However, the consequences of unfettered growth in global energy demand are alarming for all countries, the report continues. If governments around the world stick with existing policies—the underlying premise of the WEO Reference Scenario—the world’s primary energy needs would be 55% higher in 2030 than today.
Developing countries contribute 74% of the increase in global primary energy use in this scenario. China and India together account for 45% of this increase. increase in global primary energy demand in this scenario. Both countries’ energy use is set to more than double between 2005 and 2030.
About half the increase in global demand goes to power generation and one-fifth to meeting transport needs—the latter mostly in the form of petroleum-based fuels.
The transport sector is the principal driver of oil demand in most regions. Globally, transport’s share of total primary oil rises from 45% in 2005 to 52% in 2030. Although biofuels take an increasing share of the market for road-transport fuels, oil-based fuels continue to dominate in the scenario, their share of transport demand falling from 94% to 92% over the projection period.
Worldwide, fossil fuels—oil, gas and coal—continue to dominate the fuel mix. Among them, coal is set to grow most rapidly, driven largely by power-sector demand in China and India. This resurgence of coal is a marked departure from past WEOs. These trends lead to continued growth in global energy-related emissions of carbon-dioxide (CO2), from 27 Gt in 2005 to 42 Gt in 2030—an increase of 57%.
China is expected to overtake the United States to become the world’s biggest emitter in 2007, while India becomes the third-biggest emitter by around 2015. China’s per-capita emissions almost reach those of OECD Europe by 2030.
Consuming countries will increasingly rely on imports of oil and gas—much of them from the Middle East and Russia. In the Reference Scenario, net oil imports in China and India combined jump from 5.4 mb/d in 2006 to 19.1 mb/d in 2030—this is more than the combined imports of the United States and Japan today.
World oil output is expected to become more concentrated in a few Middle Eastern countries—if necessary investment is forthcoming. Although production capacity at new fields is expected to increase over the next five years, it is very uncertain whether it will be sufficient to compensate for the decline in output at existing fields and meet the projected increase in demand. A supply-side crunch in the period to 2015, involving an abrupt escalation in oil prices, cannot be ruled out, WEO notes.
Government action can alter appreciably these trends, the IEA states. If governments around the world implement policies they are considering today, as assumed in an Alternative Policy Scenario, global energy-related CO2 emissions would level off in the 2020s and reach 34 Gt in 2030—almost a fifth less than in the Reference Scenario.
Global oil demand would be 14 mb/d lower—a saving equal to the entire current output of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.
Measures to improve energy efficiency are the cheapest and fastest way to curb demand and emissions growth in the near term. The savings are particularly large in China and India. For example, tougher efficiency standards for air conditioners and refrigerators alone would, by 2020, save the amount of power produced by the Three Gorges dam. Emissions of local pollutants in both countries, including sulphur-dioxide and nitrous oxides, would also be reduced sharply.
|Even in the alternative policy scenario, CO2 emissions are 27% above current levels. Click to enlarge.|
But even in the Alternative Policy Scenario, global CO2 emissions are 27% above current levels in 2030.
In a “450 Stabilization Case”, which describes a notional pathway to long-term stabilization of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at around 450 parts per million, global emissions peak in 2012 and then fall sharply below 2005 levels by 2030. Emissions savings come from improved efficiency in industry, buildings and transport, switching to nuclear power and renewables, and the widespread deployment of CO2 capture and storage (CCS). Exceptionally quick and vigorous policy action by all countries, and unprecedented technological advances, entailing substantial costs, would be needed to make this case a reality.
Economic growth in China and India could turn out to be significantly faster than assumed in the Reference and Alternative Policy Scenarios, resulting in more rapid growth in energy demand, oil and gas imports and CO2 emissions. In a High Growth Scenario, which assumes that China’s and India’s economies grow on average 1.5 percentage points per year faster than in the Reference Scenario, energy demand is 21% higher in 2030 in China and India combined. Globally, energy demand rises by 6% and CO2 emissions by 7%.
The challenge for all countries is to put in motion a transition to a more secure, lower-carbon energy system, without undermining economic and social development. Nowhere will this challenge be tougher, or of greater importance to the rest of the world, than in China and India. Vigorous, immediate and collective policy action by all governments is essential to move the world onto a more sustainable energy path. There has so far been more talk than action in most countries.—WEO 2007
China may become the largest emitter of CO2 in absolute terms quite soon, partly because the technology being deployed is not always the most modern available but mostly because the Chinese are simply becoming more affluent. In terms of CO2 emissions per person, China is still just at 1/4 of the US. India is even lower. However, it's no use telling those countries they have to be more frugal unless the West - especially the US - does more to curb its own appetite for fossil fuels. Fact is, the "developed" world is about to grow from ~1 billion to ~3 billion people by mid-century.
Wrt to oil, the resource that is geographically the most concentrated and the hardest to replace, the US alone consumes about 21 of the roughly 87 million barrels produced every day, i.e. about a quarter of world production. However, it represents just 5% of world population. The majority of this oil is still used in the transportation sector rather than for materials etc. fr which the value added is much higher. Biofuels may well ease the problem to some extent but only if well/field-to-wheels efficiency is sharply improved first. The only way that is going to happen is if US consumers are forced to spend more up front for higher fuel economy. That means raising CAFE or preferably, reliably high fuel prices. In that case, automotive engineers, city planners et al. will figure out how to deliver the desired result. There is still time to initiate this shift in demand slowly enough to avoid serious economic and social disruption.
However, if the US waits too long, a future oil war with one or more other consumer nations is entirely possible. In terms of human and financial cost, that would make the war in Iraq seem like a minor skirmish by comparison.
You may feel that oil markets are already doing enough to shift demand in favor of higher fuel economy, especially in the US. However, oil is in the mother of all bull markets right now. If any of the major economies goes into recession, that speculative bubble could burst very quickly, with knock-on effects on prices at the pump. Consumers will keep demanding high fuel economy only if they are confident that fuel prices will remain high for years to come.
Posted by: Rafael Seidl | 08 November 2007 at 08:46 AM
Even if the United States passes its own climate change legislation after Bush leaves office, the Chinese have indicated that they won't sign on. So where are we then?
Posted by: Cervus | 08 November 2007 at 08:58 AM
All these projections of 50% growth in oil use and 90-odd% fossil fuel fraction in 2030 are wildly wrong. It just proves how stubborn people are who are used to thinking only one way.
There's likely to be a 20-30% drop in oil production by then, and a huge increase in non-fossil sources.
This will have nothing to do with policy. It will happen out of necessity. As far as an oil price collapse? Could happen for a very short time. But with long-term production falling and demand rising? I don't see anywhere for the price to go but way up.
Posted by: BlackSun | 08 November 2007 at 09:05 AM
In factories, not all employees need to be present at the facility. i.e. Accountants and some others could work from home and so, avoid the trip to the factory and save fuel. And may be it is OK if some employees go to the workplace only once a week or once every two weeks.
Posted by: Jorge | 08 November 2007 at 09:14 AM
Even if the United States passes its own climate change legislation after Bush leaves office, the Chinese have indicated that they won't sign on. So where are we then?
I know! I know!
Posted by: | 08 November 2007 at 09:23 AM
Wow, Jorge, my first impression is that your proposition is actually probably the best idea I have heard for drastically reducing consumption. It is interesting to consider the social effect with more parents at home too.
Posted by: Sam | 08 November 2007 at 09:55 AM
We cannot tolerate that other nations, especially China and India, do more or less what we have been doing for many decades!!! Those large nations should do what we promised to do (but didn't do) or what we tell them to do?
Who are we trying to foul, ourselves or some other worlds?
Sooner or latter we will have to realize that 5% of the world population (us) consume about 25% of the energy and create about 25% of the pollution even when most of the products we use are made in Chiona. The problem is here. We have a very long way to go before we can tell the world what to do or not to do.
After we have reduced our per capita energy consumption and GHG by 50+% we may be in a position to boast about it. Meanwhile, we should admit that we are the problem, not others.
Posted by: Harvey D | 08 November 2007 at 09:55 AM
I agree mainly with BlackSun. This will probably apply to coal as well very soon. However as I've said before, China's emissions depend significantly on US consumption of Chinese made goods. If the US charges for carbon on its own goods, both to protect the domestic industry as well as promote carbon reductions elsewhere, taxes on the emissions associated with imported goods should also be applied. Bottom line: CO2 emisssions in China to a large extent depend on US policy.
Posted by: marcus | 08 November 2007 at 10:09 AM
US probably had more vehicles in 1930 than what China or India has now. So there's no way Americans can tell the Chinese and Indians to change.
There are many homes here where the Heater/AC is running just for the pets and thay may consume more energy than millions of poorer households in many 3rd world countries.
Despite all these constraints and rising oil prices, India & China have achieved a lot in the renewables.
India & China are #4 & #5 in wind energy capacity.
When a smaller country like Germany have 21,000 MW of wind energy, a larger country like US can have lot more.
Same is the case with natgas vehicle usage.
Argentina, Pakistan, Brazil are top 3 while US is in #9.
US can do a lot. Hope the $90 oil wakes up people.
Posted by: Max Reid | 08 November 2007 at 11:27 AM
If we cannot get China and India on board, then our efforts will merely slow the disaster. I am not counseling doing nothing, but if you read the IHT article I linked to, China will not adopt emissions restrictions post-Kyoto regardless of what anyone says. Even at the behest the more efficient Europeans.
There are some interesting things going on in China, even without government support. Bloomberg.com has a special report on "Carbon Capitalism" with some details.
According to the AWEA, the United States currently has ~14,000 MW of wind energy. As of Sept 30, there's another 5700MW currently under construction. We're catching up fast.
As far as natural gas is concerned, that's still a fossil resource and thus finite. North American production peaked in 2005.
Posted by: Cervus | 08 November 2007 at 12:00 PM
Nat gas is finite in supply but methane can be easily produced from farm wastes and sewage. India probably leads the world in renewable methane production.
Posted by: tom deplume | 08 November 2007 at 12:24 PM
If we are honest, we must admit that every human has an equal right to carbon emissions.
Secondly, although China is a big economy, they are a very poor nation. The per capita income is only a fraction of that of the west.
As long as chinese citizen emits only a fraction of a westerner and their income is only a fraction of that of a westerner, it is only logic they say they have no intention to limit their economic growth by binding restrictions. That doesn't mean they won't try to curb their emissions, but they will not limit their economic growth by self-limitation, while allowing westerners to polute the planet further at a much higher rate than they do themselves. There is no 'historical right' to pollute.
Furthermore, if we would be willing to pay a few % extra taxes to 'green' our economy, we could soon be completely carbon-free, and still be much-much richer than the chinese.
If we would be prepared to pay that small price, and emit only the same amount per capita as the chinese, we could eventually have the right to ask them the same.
Even more, they could easily argue that we built our wealth by exploiting the earth, and that they have the right to emit even more than we do now. That's why we (the West) don't even have the duty to pay the small price to 'green' our economy, but we even have the duty to give them the technology for free to do the same.
On the longer term that 'small price' will not even be a price and will make us (and them) even richer, safer and healthier.
Posted by: Alain | 08 November 2007 at 12:35 PM
Chinese leaders are not stupid, they do realize that China will be very adversely affected by climate change. They do plan to do something about it, but it's not in their interest to show signs of that as longs as negotiations are ongoing about the relative burdens of different countries. And they won't do anything before developing countries are doing their share. For example, new chinese coal plants are often ready to include CCS in the future and there is a burgeoning wind power manufacturing industry developing in China.
However, China still sees fast economic growth more important than environmental protection, but they know that they have to do something about it sooner than later.
Posted by: jk | 08 November 2007 at 01:17 PM
Posted by: critta | 08 November 2007 at 01:35 PM
This argument that US shouldn't do anything until China and India have started to cap their emission is iressponsible, unfair and hypocrit. US has been emitting for more than 100 years and china only 20 years if compare the level of emission, china is emitting more and more because they are in the process of eplementing a development model which is just a copy of the US economical model, right ? so let's show now the example for the futur and we will have the right to point out at china. But until then we should shut up and roll up our sleeves since the task is immense
Posted by: Treehugger | 08 November 2007 at 01:38 PM
The IEA still has its head in the sand wrt peak oil. As others have said, these projections are meaningless. Public policy must consider peak oil together with climate change in order to make a difference in the real world.
Current high oil prices aren't necessarily a signal that we've hit peak and demand destruction may drive the price down for a while, especially if caused by an economic recession, but oil production is plateauing soon and after that we're in for a bumpy ride.
Posted by: critta | 08 November 2007 at 01:39 PM
Carbon tax cannot be applied just like that
Reason 1 : Coal has the highest carbon content and also the cheapest of all fuels.
Carbon tax will increase the coal price which may prompt some customers to move
to oil (if they dont have acccess to natgas pipeline). Already oil is terribly
expensive, more demand for oil will put more pressure on everyone.
Reason 2 : Nearly 100 billion dollars may spent every year on defense related to
security of Persian Gulf Oil in the form of military bases and another 500 billion $ (last 5 years)
are spent on Iraq War and another 200 billion $ (last 6 years) to defend us from terrorists who get
money from oil funds. Carbon tax will further increase oil demand and prices and put
more burden on people in both developing countries and US.
Reason 3 : The Light Crude oil which has been used in higher %age's these days were
getting limited and more Heavy Crude is coming in which creates more pollution. Even
worse is the Oil sands which leave tons of sludge and mud as well. Carbon tax will
increase the cost of Oil even more.
So any carbon tax should also involve tax on Oil to cover Security costs. That will
be fair. So, now we know what is the true cost of Worlds 2 major energy sources.
As a matter of fact, 35.8 % of World energy comes from Oil and 28.4 % from Coal
among the 5 major energy sources (Oil, Coal, Natgas, Nuclear & Hydro).
Its very important to increase the use of bio-fuels and renewables like Wind, Solar
Looks like Oil prices will settle in 90's / barrel.
Posted by: Max Reid | 08 November 2007 at 01:49 PM
"Its very important to increase the use of bio-fuels and renewables like Wind, Solar
Max, if it is cheapest to use coal without sequestration rather than these alternatives then why would anyone do as you propose? This is why a carbon cost must be implemented. If oil is already expensive other renewable sources will be used or developed. Because of cheap fossil fuels, development of alternatives has only now started in earnest but this is mainly for liquid fuels because coal is still cheap. There are many non-polluting energy sources that are more expensive compared to coal but could otherwise be brought on line, eg geothermal, nuclear thermal solar etc as you pointed out, but carbon most cost for this to come about. ALso, high prices for energy are also what is required for most US citizens to conserve.
As I mentioned before Cervus, if carbon costs in the US, it only makes economic sense to tax imports accordingly - China problem half solved.
Posted by: marcus | 08 November 2007 at 02:09 PM
IEA keeps repeating that World Oil consumption will rise to 115 million bpd by 2030.
The fact is the current demand of 85 million bpd could not be met and Exxon chief
said that Oil outside OPEC countries have already peaked.
Meanwhile Total (French Oil Company) cheif said that reaching 100 million bpd is
We will soon know whether IEA is correct or PO (Peak Oil) group is correct. If PO
is correct, people will mock at IEA.
Posted by: Max Reid | 08 November 2007 at 02:17 PM
The fact is the current demand of 85 million bpd could not be met and Exxon chief said that Oil outside OPEC countries have already peaked.
Yes, and he has no incentive at all to tell everyone that supply is limited.
Posted by: | 08 November 2007 at 02:29 PM
re carbon taxes on imports
It would be an administrative nightmare to do detailed calculations on every item, so I suggest maybe a flat 20% on imports from greenhouse rogue nations. That means software services from India pay 20% and steel from China pays 20%. The precondition is that importing country has its own stringent carbon penalty scheme, not just signed up to Kyoto and way off target. Free trade is restored when China and India fall into line.
Will this kill trade?...not if they decarbonize.
Posted by: Aussie | 08 November 2007 at 02:42 PM
I would apply a "carbon tariff" only very cautiously. In the past, protectionist tariffs have had very negative effects eg: Smoot-Hawley in 1930 worsened the Depression worldwide, and another in the 1880s that resulted in a recession and high inflation.
In order to apply such a tariff fairly we would have to know the carbon intensity of Chinese energy production, the factory that makes it, and the ship that carries it. A flat tariff like Aussie suggests would be much easier to administer, but then you'd run into Smoot-Hawley risks again.
Posted by: Cervus | 08 November 2007 at 02:48 PM
Aussie & Cervus: glad to see your remarks about the folly of trying to apply a complex tariff based upon carbon intensity or some other buzz word.
Tariffs are not the way to go. The entire world economy is now dependent upon open trade and capital movements. Any attempts to substantially change that will probably prove disasterous both economically and politically.
We can change our energy consumption and improve our situation by taxing fossil fuels. Provided we tax foreign and domestic fuels equally we have no trade treaty problems.
Taxes are not pleasant but the effects are certain. A flat tax on fossil fuel is hard to evade, simple to collect, and encourages conservation, efficiency, and alternative energy use everywhere in the economy.
The down side is inflation. Everything will cost more and our manufacturers will be at even more cost disadvantage. That can't be helped and beats the alternatives.
There is no good way out. There are some really bad ones.
Posted by: K | 08 November 2007 at 04:31 PM
The US is already doing all it needs to do to reduce AGW. Selling nuke reactors to China. Russia, Japan, and France are helping too.
Posted by: Kit P | 08 November 2007 at 06:03 PM
Re: As far as an oil price collapse? ... I don't see anywhere for the price to go but way up."
Yet on an energy basis, oil is now as expensive as electricity, around 7 cents a kwh equivalent (see: Why oil is overpriced), although in most applications it is less productive. So although in the short-term wars and other impediments to the operation of a free market may drive oil prices higher, in the longer term, investments (e.g., in new coal or nuclear power plants) and technological developments, such as plug in electric autos, solar, wind and wave power generation should greatly limit oil demand and price.
Posted by: Lucretius | 08 November 2007 at 07:41 PM