EIA Forecasts Sharp Rise in Global Energy Demand

Economic Review, May 1997 | Go to article overview

EIA Forecasts Sharp Rise in Global Energy Demand


Global demand for energy is projected to rise 54 percent by 2015 from 1995 levels, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). in its annual International Energy Outlook 1997, EIA agency of the US department of energy, forecasts that almost half of the increase will be the result of rising demand in the newly emerging Asian economies says a press release. If energy consumption reaches the levels predicted by the report, released May 6, carbon emissions will rise to 9,700 million metric tons by 2015-61 percent higher than in 2000. The EIA estimates that about two-thirds of the increase in carbon emissions will reflect emissions in non-industrialised counties, which by 2000 will account for more than half of all global carbon emission. It attributed, in part the sizeable increase in emissions from developing counties to their continued heavy reliance on coal.

The report suggested that the increase in energy demand may be understated if, for example, developments in China's transportation sector follow the sharp rises projected for Thailand and South Korea. Another uncertainty, it said, is growth in the transitional economies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The report also noted that natural gas is likely to be the fastest growing primary energy source over the forecast period, and that by 2015 gas demand should surpass worldwide demand for coal. The EIA believes world oil prices will remain relatively stable - reaching $21 per barrel by 2015 - despite the projected rise in oil demand.

The newly emerging Asian economies (including China and India, but excluding the developed countries of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand) contribute 45 percent of the projected increase in world energy consumption between 1995 and 2015. Industrial sector growth, which motivates Asia's strong economic performance, is a diving force, Developing Asia accounts for 53 percent of energy demand outside the industrialised world in 2015. Energy consumption in development Asia exceeds US consumption in all of North America.

These projections are subject to much uncertainty - especially in China, where energy demand in the trasportation sector may undergo considerable change. In the IEO 97 reference case, oil demand in developing Asia grows at an annual rate of 4 percent between 1995 and 2015; in China it increase by nearly 5 percent annually. If developments in China's transportation sector follow those already seen in Thailand and South Korea - where double digit growth rates in automobile ownership are expected to continue throughout the 1990s - the growth projected in IEO 97 could be drastically underestimated.

If world energy consumption reaches the levels projected in the IEO 97 reference case, carbon emissions will rise to 9.7 billion metric tons by the end of the forecast period - 61 percent higher than in 1990. …

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