In what it describes as a “great transition”, the 93-year-old, UN-accredited World Energy Council is predicting that humanity’s per capita demand for energy may peak and then begin to decline within 14 years—but that will do little to reign in greenhouse gas emissions.
Working with international business consultants Accenture and the Swiss-based Paul Scherrer Institute, the Council ran data from more than 70 experts in some 25 countries through “a global multi-region energy system model,” according to the organization’s website. The results forecast that global “demand per person for energy—including transport fuels, heating and electricity—would begin to fall after 2030,” The Guardian reported, “thanks to new technology and stricter government policies.”
But with a rising human population, the Council says, that won’t translate into lower overall energy use—let alone lower carbon emissions. Indeed, “demand for electricity would double by 2060,” The Guardian writes. And while the Council predicts solar and wind may supply as much as 39% of global electricity by 2060, with hydroelectric and nuclear power also expanding, “fossil fuels will remain the number one source of energy.”
In two of three trajectory scenarios modeled, “oil production will peak in 2030 at between 94 million and 103 million barrels per day (m/bpd), although the third scenario would see it peak and plateau at 104 m/bpd for a decade from 2040,” the paper notes.