Norwegian energy company Equinor has published a report claiming that more needs to be done by energy companies to keep global warming below 2°C.
The ninth edition of the Energy Perspectives report provides a global review of possible developments in the energy market towards 2050, focusing on the opportunities and challenges related to sustainably meeting global energy demands.
According to the report, total global energy demand grew by 2.3% in 2018, the fastest growth since 2010, with the world relying on approximately 100 million barrels of oil (MMbbl) and 11 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per day. Projected demand for 2050 ranges between 52-118MMbbl and 9-13bcm per day, the report notes that existing oil and gas fields are insufficient to meet this demand.
Equinor chief economist Eirik Wærness said: “The world is progressing on ensuring access to energy for more people. We also see record growth in new renewables. However, as time goes by without reductions in global CO2 emissions, the path to a sustainable future becomes ever more challenging.
“The challenges of meeting energy demand in a sustainable manner are large and multi-faceted. Transforming the energy systems is key, but we also need massive energy efficiency gains and much more carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). We will need all of the above.”
Energy Perspectives offers three scenarios, outlining its predictions for the future of the energy industry.
Equinor’s best-case scenario “Renewal” has the energy industry achieving the targets of the Paris Agreement through “rapid and significant” tightening of climate policy, substantial changes in consumer and industry behaviour and technological developments to enable a smooth transition to renewable energy.
The report also offers a “Reform” scenario based around market forces and developing technology. In this scenario, energy-related CO2 emissions peak around 2030 and decline moderately, but not enough to deliver on global climate targets.
The third scenario, “Rivalry”, presents a future where a lack of trust, geopolitical volatility and ineffective climate solutions result in a slow energy transition.
Wærness said: “Unfortunately, we see many examples of weakened cooperation in the world today. We also see more polarisation in the climate debate, with growing activism for change but also protests against the social impacts of change.
“And, as renewable energy grows, there is more focus on the consequences of new energy projects on nature. In combination, these trends underscore the political complexity of meeting the climate challenge.”
To prevent the “Rivalry” scenario from happening and make progress towards the “Renewal” scenario, Energy Perspectives suggests that new renewable resources are developed and put on stream. The report states that solar and wind energy should account for 50% of the world’s energy demand and that global car fleets should change from less than 1% electric to around 90% electric, by 2050. It also offers hydrogen as a potential zero-carbon fuel for the energy industry to develop, particularly in sectors that cannot be easily electrified.
Equinor president and CEO Eldar Sætre said: “Equinor’s purpose is to turn natural resources into energy for people and progress for society. We want the global energy mix to transform in a sustainable direction, and we want to take part in the shaping of such a future.
“That is why we are developing toward a broad energy company, producing oil and gas with ever lower emissions while building a strong position within new energy solutions.”