Climate Change

15 Mar 2022

BP Sees Energy Transition Progress and Challenges

15 Mar 2022  by   
BP released its latest Energy Outlook to 2050 on Monday, which sets out its thinking on how the energy transition will unfold.

It was mostly prepared before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and therefore does not include analysis of the war’s possible implications for global economic growth and energy markets.

In a forward to the report, BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said “there are signs of a new momentum in tackling climate change since the previous Outlook was published in 2020.”

Government ambitions to tackle climate change have increased markedly, he said.

Key elements of a low-carbon energy system are being put in place, such as the expansion of wind and solar power capacity, rising sales of electric vehicles, and new hydrogen and carbon capture projects.

But Dale also noted that apart from a dip in 2020 — attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic — carbon emissions have risen every year since the Paris Agreement was forged in 2015.

And he warned that further delays in reducing carbon dioxide emissions could greatly increase the economic and social costs of trying to meet the Paris goals.

Key Findings

• Wind and solar power expand rapidly to 2050, accounting for all or most of the increase in global power generation. This is underpinned by falling costs and power systems’ growing capability to cope with sources of energy that have variable output.

• The use of bioenergy increases substantially, providing a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors.

• Oil demand exceeds its pre-pandemic level in the near term before falling as 2050 approaches. Declines are driven by increasing efficiency and electrification of road transportation.

• Natural declines in oil and gas production will require further upstream oil and gas investment over the next 30 years.

• Consumption of natural gas (including LNG) will be supported, at least temporarily, by rising demand in emerging economies as they industrialize further and reduce dependence on coal.

• The use of hydrogen increases as the energy system progressively decarbonizes. Hydrogen provides energy for activities and processes that are difficult to electrify, especially in industry and transport. The importance of “green hydrogen” grows over time.

• Solutions such as bioenergy combined with carbon capture and storage, natural carbon sinks and direct air capture may also be needed to help the world achieve deep and rapid decarbonization.

BP says its Energy Outlook reports inform its strategy and contribute to the wider debate about the factors shaping the energy transition.

But it notes that it also considers “a wide range of other external scenarios, analysis and information” to help formulate its long-term strategy.

The scenarios set out in the reports are based on existing and developing technologies and do not consider the possibility of entirely new or unknown technologies emerging.



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