The latest annual Statistical Review of World Energy, released by BP, multinational oil and gas company, notes that global carbon emissions remained flat for the third consecutive year in 2016.
“The combination of weak energy demand growth and the shifting fuel mix meant that global carbon emissions are estimated to have grown by only 0.1% – making 2016 the third consecutive year of flat or falling emissions,” the study revealed.
Climate Action reported that the period was the lowest three-year average for emissions growth since 1981 to 1983, according to the oil and gas firm.
Global carbon emissions falls
According to BP, renewable power, excluding hydroelectric, remained the fastest growing energy source, rising 12% in 2016.
Climate Action reported that the annual review found while renewables only met 4% of total primary energy demand globally, the growth in renewables represented nearly a third of the total growth in energy demand in 2016.
Climate Action action noted: “More than 50% of the growth in renewable energy came from wind, which increased 16%, while solar increased 30% as costs continued to fall rapidly.
“The report also detailed that China overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest single producer of renewable energy in 2016.”
Coal on downward trajectory
Dr Jonathan Marshall, Energy Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit think tank, said: “The U.S. saw an astonishing 9% fall in demand, while Chinese hunger for energy is being tempered by moves to a more sustainable growth pathway and the rapid expansion of renewables, which spells even further trouble for coal in the years to come.”
Citing the study Climate Action noted that global coal production fell 1.7%, largely due to falling demand in the U.S. and China, in 2016. BP said world coal production fell by a record 6.2%, while in the UK coal consumption more than halved.
They added that in the UK, coal’s share of the nation’s energy mix has fallen to 6% – down from 23% in 2015 – thanks to the closure of a number of coal plants last year.
In 2016, global energy demand was weak for the third consecutive year, growing just 1% – around half the average growth rate for the past decade – BP said.
Bob Dudley, Chief Executive of the BP Group, said: “Global energy markets are in transition. The longer-term trends we can see in this data are changing the patterns of demand and the mix of supply as the world works to meet the challenge of supplying the energy it needs while also reducing carbon emissions. At the same time markets are responding to shorter-run run factors, most notably the oversupply that has weighed on oil prices for the past three years.”
Dr Jonathan Marshall said: “On a global scale, the surge in renewable generation puts it within touching distance of overtaking nuclear power as a major contributor to world energy use.”