The International Perspective
The OECD's International Energy Agency sets out the latest energy projections to 2030 in its report entitled 'World Energy Outlook', published in 2002. Again, a Reference Scenario is compared to an Alternative Policy Scenario. There is a strong focus on concerns about the security of energy supplies, investment in infrastructure, the environmental damage caused by energy production and use and the unequal access of the world's population to modern energy.
- takes into account policy measures that were adopted in mid-2002 including recent efforts relating to the Kyoto Protocol and targets for renewables;
- results: energy use continues to grow rapidly, fossil fuels dominate the energy mix, and the energy consumption of developing countries approaches that of the OECD;
- CO2 emissions are set to grow slightly faster than energy consumption despite the measures taken to date;
- the projected emissions differ significantly from the Commission's outlook: while the Commission expects emissions to more than double between 1990 and 2030 (113 per cent increase from 20.8 to 44.5 billion tons of CO2), the OECD report foresees a growth of 'only' 70 per cent to reach 38 billion tonnes in 2030; this difference might be attributed to the different methodologies in which the Commission does not take into account any policy measures after 2000, while the OECD does.
Alternative Policy Scenario
- assesses the impact of a range of new energy and environmental policies that OECD countries are considering and faster deployment of new technologies;
- demonstrates a strong impact of new policies to curb energy demand growth and the energy mix; the latter would also have positive consequences for import dependence of the OECD.
Both the Commission's and the IEA's Outlooks come to similar findings: new policies and cleaner technologies would achieve energy savings and promote less carbon-intensive fuels. The OECD report predicts that this would eventually stabilise greenhouse gas emissions in the OECD countries by 2030.
The Industry Perspective
The Shell study on 'Energy Needs, Choices and Possibilities - Scenarios to 2050', published in 2001, also devised two different scenarios, which are dependent on societal preferences rather than policy choices. The first scenario, entitled 'Dynamics as Usual', is based on a world where social priorities for clean, secure and ultimately sustainable energy shape the system. In the second scenario ' The Spirit of the Coming Age', superior ways of meeting energy needs are developed to meet consumer preferences regarding mobility, flexibility and convenience.
In both scenarios, Shell predicts an important role for natural gas as a 'bridge fuel' over at least the next two decades. The study also projects a rapid growth for renewable energy, and a potential for renewables to be the eventual primary source of energy.
The Shell scenarios explore "possible paths towards an affordable, sustainable energy system which has found solutions to environmental concerns", but they do not assess the concrete impact of policy measures on the way to this goal. However, the study suggests that for both scenarios, a stabilising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 550 ppmv would be clearly visible. There is no reference to CO2 emissions.
ExxonMobil also published a study entitled "The Outlook for Energy - a 2030 view". The key findings of this analysis of the world energy situation up to 2030 are:
- By 2030 world energy demand will increase by 50 per cent (at 1.7 per cent per year), primarily in less-developed countries;
- Oil and gas will continue to be the primary energy sources, accounting for about 60 per cent of total demand;
- Oil will grow fastest in the developing Asia Pacific region due to increasing sales of personal vehicles; however, in North America and Europe, demand growth is expected to be offset by increasing vehicle efficiency;
- Gas will continue to grow faster than the other energy forms, meeting about 25 per cent of the world's energy demand by 2030;
- Carbon emissions will increase as a result of raising use of fossil fuels; this is most pronounced in the Asia Pacific region.
- Renewables will grow quickly, supported by government subsidies, but will contribute only a small fraction of energy supply;
- Nuclear will continue to grow, but only at 0.8 per cent per year; however, some new plants will be constructed in developed countries after 2020 due to mounting environmental and supply security concerns.
To meet higher demand, ExxonMobil maintains that the application of new technology is the best way to meet the energy challenge. This means growing and developing the resource base as well as improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. Moreover, the company sees increasing opportunities for new coal, nuclear and bio-fuels.