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[ cerca in archivio ] ARCHIVIO STORICO RADICALE
Archivio Partito radicale
CME/WEC - 2 settembre 1989
Energy demand
(WEC, Conservation and Studies Committee, "Global Energy Perspectives 2000-2020", Montreal, 1989.

Between 1985 and 2020, world energy consumption would rise by 50 to 75 % (i.e. + 4 Gtoe to + 6 Gtoe), depending on the scenario compared with a growth of 125 % during the period 1960-1985. The rate of growth would fall significantly from the 1.85 % p.a. achieved between 1973-1985 to 1.6 % for the period 1985-2020 in "M" and 1.25 % in "L".

Energy saving, compared with trends prior to 1973, amounted to 1 Gtoe or 14 % of world consumption in 1985. Saving could reach 6 to 10 Gtoe by 2020. Indeed, even by 2000, saving could reach around 3 Gtoe through demand management and would thus constitute the largest single energy "source".

If the prospects of this study are compared with the previous publication in 1983, it will be seen that the present scenario "M" is close to the earlier scenario II, considered the most likely at its time. The gross difference for projections of world demand is less than 0.7 Gtoe (i.e. - 5 %). The projections for the centrally-planned industrialized countries (north 2) and the

Third World market economies (South 1 plus ASS+SA) are very closed but there is a large fall in the forecast for the market-economy industrialized countries (North 1) which are down by 25 % or some - 1.5 Gtoe. On the other hand, there is a spectacular rise in demand for Centrally-planned Asia amounting to + 0.85 Gtoe or + 100 %.

World per capita consumption, which remained stable at around 1.6 toe during the period 1973-1985, would rise only slightly in scenario "M" to reach 1.7 toe by 2020, whereas in "L", it would actually drop to 1.5 toe.

Energy intensity would continue the declining trend seen in rates between 1973 and 1985. With this fall of - 1 to - 1.5 % p.a., demand in the industrialized North would increase only gradually, rising from 5.4 Gtoe in 1985 to 6.7/7.7 Gtoe in 2020 "L/M".

In the South, on the other hand, the energy intensity situation which showed no progress between 1973 and 1985, would improve considerably under "M" with an annual average of - 1 % and significantly under "L" with - 0.35 %.

Third World demand therefore, would increase from 2.3 Gtoe in 1985 to 4.9/5.8 Gtoe in 2020 "L/M". As a result of demographic pressure and relatively sustained economic development, the countries of the South would slowly catch up on the industrialized North in their share of world demand. Compared with 24% in 1960 an 1973, The South's proportion would rise from 30 % in 1985 to 35 % in 2000 and 43 % in 2020. In the period between 2000 and 2020 the South would account for 2/3 of the increase in world consumption in "M" an 3/4 in "L".

Despite this progress, considerable differences in per capita consumption would remain. In 1985, average per capita consumption in the South, including non-commercial energy sources, stood at 0.65 toe as against 4.25 toe in the North. By 2020, the corresponding figures, depending on scenario, would be 0.8/0.9 toe in the South, and 4.45/5.15 toe in the North. Thus, there is hardly any improvement in the ratio for the South in terms of consumption.

Within the South, there is particular cause for concern with regard to the countries which are "in transition", i.e. Sub-Saharan Africa + South Asia. here, average per capita consumption would rise from the 0.36 toe of 1985 to only 0.39 toe in 2020 "L" or 0.46 toe in 2020 "M". Of this amount non commercial energy sources would still supply 30 % in "M" or 45 % in "L", as against 60 % in 1985.

It is evident from these figures that a situation of chronic poverty in the energy field would continue to exist in a region whose population is expected to double form 1.4 billion to 2.8 billion by 2020, i.e. one third of the world total.

Energy supplies

It would appear that sharply different trends would affect the various primary energy sources supplying world needs.

Solid mineral fuels (SMF): demand would rise from 2 Gtoe in 1985 to 3 Gtoe in 2020 "L"" or 4 Gtoe in "M". During the first period, there would be strong competition from hydrocarbons but, after 2000, growth would more rapid.

In terms of the world energy market shares, however, growth remains slight: up from 26 % in 1985 to only 28 or 30 % in 2020, depending on the scenario. Despite abundant reserves, outlets are restricted and environmental restraints constitute a check on development.

Natural gas (NG): the position here is relatively favorable with reserves guaranteed in the medium term and the additional advantage of lower carbon dioxide levels than other fossil fuels. Natural gas, therefore, is better placed than oil to maintain its share of world demand at current levels.

Hydroelectric power (HY): though great potential remains, particularly in the Third World, development may well be hindered by the financial problems of the South and scarcity of sites in the North. The increase of capacities would be a gradual one.

New energy sources (NS): while renewable energies are of great long term interest, these sources suffer from their low density and from the depressed state of energy prices.

The forecasts for the future development have had to be modified considerably to give a more realistic assessment of their potential in the medium term. The 6 % suggested in the 1983 study has now been reduced to 3 % by 2020 in "M" and 1.5 % in "L".

Nuclear power (NU): the sector i subject to adverse public opinion after Chernobyl, to rising costs and to increasing financing difficulties. Whereas the 1983 study envisaged a share of 12%, this has had to be scaled down almost everywhere to a world level o 7 or 8 % in 2020, compared with 4 % in 1985.

As the shift to alternative solutions will take long and even with better demand management, the resort to non commercial energy sources and to oil will tend to increase rather than fall.

Non-commercial energy sources (NCE): as the transfer to "modern" sources continues to lag, the volume of NCEs is set to increase in the South: 750 Mtoe in 1985 but 900/1000 Mtoe in 20000 and 930/1150 Mtoe by 2020. In percentage terms, NCEs would still be providing 15 to 25 % of Third World energy needs in 2020 as against 33 % in 1985. The consequences of intensive use on agriculture, society and the environment are all too readily imagined.

Renewable energy sources: hydropower, new and non-commercial sources would enjoy only limited growth in the medium term. Despite the hopes raised by their partisans at one time, the 17.5 % share achieved in 1985 would have grown to no more than 18.5 % by 2020 in "M" or 20.5 % in "L".

Oil (PP): the position of oil would be maintained to a higher degree that foreseen earlier. The 1983 study has forecast a figure of 18 % but it is now thought that oil would be meeting 26/28 % of world energy demand in 2020 (32 % in 1985)

Since the oil counter-shock of 1986, there has been a reversal of trend which would appear to have long-term effects on prices and demand. Indeed, it is possible that the 2.8 Gtoe level reached around 1980 may not have been the ceiling for demand.

It looks as though world oil consumption would rise from the 2.5 Gtoe of 1985 to some 3 Gtoe in 2000 and the to 3.2/3.5 Gtoe in 2020 "L/M". As the industrialized countries would by then have stabilized their demand around the 1985 level, the extra push would be coming from the Third World. From less than 0.7 Gtoe in 1985, South's demand would rise to 1.4 Gtoe in 2020 "L" or to 1.6 Gtoe in "M". At the same time, South's share of world consumption would increase from 26% in 1985 to 43/44 % in 2020.

In these figures prove correct, they will favour a rising trend in the price per barrel of oil which, it is to be hoped, will be gradual and not be subject to the wide fluctuations experienced in the recent past.

Energy production

The development of production runs parallel to that of consumption, fossil fuels playing a preponderant role and providing around 2/3 of the growth in world supply between 1985 and 2020.

South's share of world production would grow increasingly, rising from less than 40 % in 1985 to 45 % in 2000 and 50 % in 2020. South 1 would gradually be taking over the position of North 1 as the dominant force world supply.

Between 1973 and 1985, oil's contribution to world energy production fell from 45 to 35 %. In future, however, the rate of decrease would be much slower, 33 % being reached in 2000 and 30% in 2020. In volume terms, on the other hand, the peak of 3.2 Gtoe attained in 1979 could be raised to 3.8/4.2 Gtoe by 2020 "L/M".

In some respects, the outlook for the industrialized countries is optimistic with oil production in 2000 being maintained at the 1985 level and then falling by only 10 % up to 2020. With regard to oil production share, however, the picture looks different. From less than 40 % of the total in 1973, the North, by 1985, had gone on to a majority position but this could not be sustained. By 20000 the figure is down to 40 % of world oil production again and by 2020 it is around one third. The decline in the share of the North translates into a gain for South 1 which presently accounts for 90 % of OPEC production. By the end of the century, it would once more provide around 50 % of world production.

One of the main concerns relating to the global increase in the consumption of energy, and especially fossil fuels, is its possible impact on the atmosphere. If we take only carbon dioxide, the extra quantities emitted in 2020 compared with 1985 could amount to + 40 % in "L" and + 70 % in "M". The responsibility would lie for the most part with the industrialized countries who would account for 60% of the emissions in 2020, a slight improvement over the 75 % reached in 1985. Some comfort, however, may be taken from the prospect that per capita CO2 indicators would fall along with a progressive reduction in the share of fossil fuels within total energy demand.

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Gtoe = Giga Tons Oil Equivalent

Scenario "L" = Low

Scenario "M" = Middle

 
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