EIA foresees global energy-related CO2 emissions rise through 2050

By 2050, energy-related CO2 emissions vary between a 2% decrease and a 34% increase compared with 2022 in all cases the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) modeled in their International Energy Outlook 2023 (IEO2023).

Growing populations and incomes increase fossil fuel consumption and emissions, particularly in the industrial and electric power sectors. These trends offset emissions reductions from improved energy efficiency, lower carbon intensity of fuel mix, and growth in non-fossil fuel energy.

Source: EIA

Although zero-carbon technologies account for the most growth in electricity capacity and generation, EIA expects coal-fired generators to continue to operate. Across all cases, China and India account for about two-thirds of the world’s coal consumption between 2022 and 2050. Although China is currently the largest coal consumer, EIA projects its coal consumption to decline by 18% between 2022 and 2050. Coal consumption in India nearly doubles over the same projection period.

EIA projects the United States, China, and Western Europe to remain the top liquid fuel consumers (gasoline, diesel, and biofuels), even though fuel consumption in these regions either declines or plateaus by the mid-2030s due to government policies and growing EV adoption. India has the fastest projected growth in liquid fuel consumption, more than doubling across all cases.

EIA projects natural gas consumption will increase in the electric power and industrial sectors through 2050. In the cases EIA modeled, the electric power sector continues to rely on existing natural gas-fired plants despite growth in zero-carbon electricity generation. The United States is projected to remain the world’s top natural gas consumer throughout the projection horizon.

In paralel, the COP 28 is being held in Dubai. Is EIA report confronting reality with wishfull thinking?