Global demand for energy grew by 5.6 per cent last year, the fastest rate since 1973

The amount of carbon dioxide released from the use of energy grew at its fastest rate since 1969 last year.

In its keynote annual statistical review of world energy, BP said that global demand had grown by 5.6 per cent in 2010, the fastest rate since 1973, largely because of the post-crisis industrialisation of coal-dependent developing nations.
China overtook the United States for the first time to become the world’s largest energy consumer, as countries outside the richer nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development drove demand. Non-OECD countries used 7.5 per cent more energy last year than in 2009 and 63 per cent more than in 2000.

In total, global emissions from energy consumption increased by 5.8 per cent. China accounted for the biggest rise, being responsible for 43 per cent of the global increase and a quarter of emissions. America was the second-biggest contributor to emissions, accounting for 13 per cent of the total after a 4.1 per cent rise.

The global level of carbon intensity — the amount released for each unit of energy consumed— is also on the rise. Developing countries rely more on coal plants to generate electricity, which release twice as many emissions as the modern gas plants more common in the West. China alone accounted for almost half the coal consumed globally last year. Global oil consumption last year rebounded strongly, growing by 2.7 million barrels per day, or 3.1 per cent, to reach a record of 87.4 million barrels per day. Oil production grew by a slightly more modest level of 1.8 million barrels per day, or 2.2 per cent, but was supplemented by a big increase in the supply of biofuels.

Norway experienced the world’s largest production decline, followed by Britain, where production fell by slightly over 100,000 barrels per day.

Christof Rühl, group chief economist of BP, said that the US could suffer a repeat of the economic slump it experienced after the 1970s oil shock: “The combination of a rise in interest rates and rise in energy prices have proved toxic [for the US].”

Tim Webb – Times – June 9 2011 12:01AM

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