Fossil Fuels to Account for 68% of Global Energy Supply by 2050: REPORT

Fossil fuels to dominate global energy supplies in 2050 cover

The world will need all forms of energy to accompany a global population of roughly 9.7 billion by 2050

ExxonMobil’s latest annual energy outlook sheds light on what it believes the world will look like in 2050. 

With billions more people, more prosperity, and more energy, the super American major predicts we will need an “all-of-the-above” solution to meet our growing energy needs – including fossil fuels, which will account for 68 per cent of global energy demand by 2050.

A quick summary of ExxonMobil’s latest energy outlook, in point form. Read the full report here.

Report Highlights

• Affordable and reliable energy are at the core of all key measures of human development, underpinning higher living standards, longer life expectancy, education and economic opportunity.  

• Energy use and economic development are inseparable. Where there is energy poverty, there is poverty. And where energy availability rises, living standards rise as well.

• Global energy demand is projected to grow 15% between 2021 and 2050 – with nearly all of it going toward meeting the higher living standards of a developing world with a larger population.

• Significant energy demand growth in developing nations will more than outweigh energy demand drops in developed nations in power generation, industry, transportation and construction.

• Between now and 2050, developing countries will see gross domestic product (GDP) per capita more than double, driving higher global energy demand.

• The world will need to rely on a full spectrum of energy sources to meet demand in 2050, with projections for the global energy mix as follows:

• Oil and natural gas – 54%
• Coal – 14%
• Non-biomass renewables – 15%
• Wind and solar – 11%
• Nuclear – 7%

• Natural gas use is projected to increase by more than 20% by 2050 given its utility as a reliable and lower-emissions source of fuel for electricity generation, hydrogen production, and heating for both industrial processes and buildings.

• Given that oil and natural gas are projected to remain a critical component of the world’s energy systems through 2050, sustained investments are essential to offset depletion as production naturally declines 5-7% annually.

• If every new passenger car sold in the world in 2035 were an electric vehicle, oil demand in 2050 would still be 85 million barrels per day, the same as it was around 2010.

• As low-carbon emission technologies and innovations grow, the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions will drop by 25%

• The global population is expected to rise by 2 billion people, a 25% increase, between 2022 and 2050. 

• People all over the world will have greater opportunity and prosperity, with global GDP per capita projected to rise by roughly 85% by 2050.

• People living in developed countries such as China and India are projected to see their purchasing power increase roughly 50% to around $70,000.

• Most of the world’s people live in developing countries (non-OECD), and are projected to see purchasing power more than double to $25,000.

• While this is impressive growth, people in developing countries will still have far less purchasing power in 2050 than people in developed nations have today.

• Energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to peak at roughly 34 billion metric tons within this decade and then are anticipated to decrease to 25 billion metric tons by 2050. As the global economy is projected to double, the expected 25% reduction in these emissions reflects remarkable progress. 

Projections vs. Scenarios

global energy demand growth by 2050 - ExxonMobil 2023 OutlookExxonMobil points out that its latest global energy outlook is a “projection” based on current trends and policies. Meanwhile, scenarios such as the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions (IEA NZE) by 2050, work backwards from a hypothetical outcome to calculate the factors required to achieve said outcome.

According to the report, the IEA has acknowledged that society is not currently on a pathway to net zero, and that its NZE report “…assumes unprecedented energy efficiency gains, innovation and technology transfer, lower-emissions investments, and globally coordinated greenhouse-gas reduction policy by governments.

We will leave you with this question: If you were to predict the world’s future energy mix, which would you rely on -- projections based on current realities or hypothetical scenarios?

The World Needs More Canadian Oil & Natural Gas

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As long as the world needs oil and natural gas – and it will for decades to come – those supplies should come from the most responsible and reliable producers, like Canada.

The world is better off with more sustainably produced Canadian oil and natural gas on global markets – there is no ifs, ands or buts about it.