In the absence of specific policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s energy use is expected to increase by 44 percent between 2006 and 2030, causing a 39 percent increase in global carbon dioxide emissions, according to U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The EIA’s “International Energy Outlook 2009,” released last week, finds that much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions will occur in developing nations, especially in Asia. The EIA reference case projects oil prices climbing to $130 per barrel by 2030, causing biofuels to become increasingly competitive, but also opening the door to less environmentally friendly options, such as oil sands, extra-heavy oil, and facilities to convert coal and natural gas into liquid fuels.
On the bright side, the EIA report expects renewable energy to be the fastest-growing source of electricity over the next 21 years, with an average renewable power growth of 2.9 percent per year. Most of that growth will come from wind power and hydropower, according to the EIA. But with global electricity demand growing steadily, renewable power is only projected to increase its share of the world’s electricity market from 19 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2030. Over the same time period, the EIA expects coal power to increase its global share from 41 percent to 43 percent.