Global emissions from fuel consumption likely peaked last year: research

FILE PHOTO: Cars drive underneath the Mulholland Bridge on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California July 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

LONDON (Reuters) - Global emissions from fuel consumption likely peaked last year, as power demand has fallen this year due to coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions, research by Bloomberg Energy Finance said on Tuesday.

In its New Energy Outlook report, BNEF said emissions from the energy sector have fallen by around 10% this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if they rise again with economic recovery, they will never reach 2019 levels again.

From 2027 onwards, emissions are seen falling at a rate of 0.7% per year to 2050.

This is due to the rise in wind and solar power, increased uptake of electric vehicles and improved energy efficiency across industries, the report said.

Together, wind and solar power will account for 56% of global electricity generation by mid-century.

Coal-fired power is forecast to peak in China in 2027 and India in 2030 and total oil demand is expected to peak in 2035 and then fall by 0.7% year-on-year to return to 2018 levels by 2050.

Gas is the only fossil fuel to keep growing to 2050, up 0.5% year-on-year.

However, despite the progress of the energy transition, and the decrease in energy demand brought by COVID-19, BNEF still sees energy sector emissions putting the world on course for a 3.3 degrees Celsius temperature increase by 2100, well above a globally agreed limit of below 2C.

“To stay well below two degrees of global temperature rise, we would need to reduce emissions by 6% every year starting now, and to limit the warming to 1.5C, emissions would have to fall by 10% per year,” said Matthias Kimmel, senior analyst at BNEF and co-author of the report.

Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama