Fossil Fuels Still Dominate Energy Mix Despite Renewables Growth

For the past 70 years, BP (NYSE: BP) has annually published the Statistical Review of World Energy. Having been a trusted resource for the wider energy sector since its inaugural release in April 1952, the Statistical Review has been instrumental in providing comprehensive data on global oil, gas, and coal production and consumption.

According to a company spokesperson, BP decided to transfer the publication of the report to the Energy Institute (EI) to allow Chief Economist Spencer Dale’s team to prioritize Chief Executive Bernard Looney’s initiatives in transitioning the oil and gas company towards renewables and low-carbon energy, thereby freeing up time and resources.

In late June, the EI published its inaugural version of the report, which is the 72nd Edition of the Statistical Review of World Energy. The full report and all data can be found at this link. Today, I will cover the highlights of the report.

Record High Carbon Emissions

The newest Review shows the world remains heavily reliant on fossil fuels for energy needs, even as renewables like solar and wind continue rapid growth.

The extensive report provides a comprehensive view of 2022’s global energy landscape. While renewable power expanded at record rates, fossil fuels maintained an 82% share of total primary energy consumption. Natural gas and coal demand stayed nearly flat with oil rebounding close to pre-pandemic levels.

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Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions from energy rose 0.9% to a new high of 34.4 billion metric tons, indicating lack of progress in curbing worldwide carbon output. Emissions have moved further away from the reductions called for in the Paris Agreement.

“Despite further strong growth in wind and solar in the power sector, overall global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased again,” said EI President Juliet Davenport. “We are still heading in the opposite direction to that required by the Paris Agreement.”

Ukraine War Drives Energy Crisis

The data shows the profound impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy markets. Russia’s disruption of energy imports skyrocketed natural gas and coal prices to all-time highs in Europe and Asia. Global LNG exports expanded but couldn’t offset the loss of Russian pipeline supply to Europe. Oil prices also spiked before moderating.

The crisis led countries like Germany to halt their coal phase-out plans as energy security took priority over climate goals. China and India’s ongoing reliance on coal boosted demand despite Europe and North America cutting consumption.

On a brighter note, wind and solar achieved record additions in 2022, now accounting for 12% of electricity generation worldwide. However, this didn’t move the needle on emissions as developing nations continue turning to all available energy sources to fuel economic growth.

Electric vehicles (EVs) spread rapidly, straining supplies of key minerals like lithium and cobalt. But the world’s energy systems are still falling behind on transitioning away from climate-warming fossil fuels, according to the report’s findings. The Review indicated that far more progress is needed to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century.

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