Oil and gas giant, BP, has forecast that renewables are likely to account for around one-third of the world’s energy production by 2040, with uptake growing faster than that of any other fuel to date.
BP’s Energy Outlook report forecasts that renewables will account for 30% of global electricity supply by 2040 – up from just 10% in 2018. The figure is an increase on BP’s 2018 predictions, which set the 2040 proportion for renewables at 25%.
While oil took almost 45 years to go from 1% of global energy to 10% and gas took more than 50, renewables are expected to undergrow this level of growth within 25 years – a transition “faster than that for any fuel in history”, according to BP.
The Energy Outlook’s predictions are based on a trajectory in which GDP doubles globally over the next 20 years, causing energy demands to increase by one-third from current levels.
The publication of the forecast comes at a time when BP is planning to grow its oil and gas production 16% by 2025, according to consultancy Rystad Energy.
At the same time, the firm is striving to generate reductions of 3.5m tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually throughout the business by 2025 as part of its Advancing the Energy Transition (AET) strategy.
Launched last April, BP claimed the strategy would help it to keep net greenhouse gas emissions at 2015 levels as the business expands.
However, the company has faced much criticism regarding the specifics of its AET strategy – or lack thereof. CDP recently criticised the fact that BP has only made short-term decarbonisation targets which do not cover the firm’s Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, for example, while former BP adviser and current E3G chair Tom Burke dubbed the strategy a “twentieth-century solution to a twenty-first-century problem”.
Critics were also quick to point out that while BP had pledged to invest $500m into low-carbon solutions after posting a strong financial performance in 2017, higher oil prices and growing crude production had pushed up its full-year underlying profits to $6.2bn that year.
In the wake of this debate, the company recently pledged to align its business with the aims of the Paris Agreement and has begun linking staff bonuses to its low-carbon progress. The move came after investor group Climate Action 100+ began lobbying for BP to publish details of how its strategy aligns with the 2C trajectory outlined in the Paris goals last year.
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