The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) reported today that they expect global oil demand to fall 2.6 million barrels per day (Mbd) in 2009, .24 Mbd lower than their April forecast. As I wrote last month, falling oil consumption can lead to lower overall global greenhouse gas emissions. And IEA’s prediction of even lower oil demand leads me to believe a 2009 emissions drop is now very likely.
Oil consumption emits around a third of total carbon dioxide emissions. So, the 2.6 Mbd (3%) drop in oil demand would pull emissions down by ~1% overall. The question is whether coal, natural gas, and land use change/forestry would push emissions more than 1% to keep them climbing higher. Since the global economy is forecast to have negative growth, a significant increase in coal and natural gas consumption is unlikely. Therefore, my current prediction is that global greenhouse gas emissions will fall at least .5% in 2009.
As I said in April, this fall in global emissions gives hope that we are entering the era of declining carbon pollution. But the only way we can continue such a trend sustainably and prosperously is through rapid deployment of energy efficiency and renewables to begin replacing fossil fuels. We need to support the development of wind and solar markets from ~35 GW in 2008 to 50+ GW in 2010 and beyond.
Onwards in the Sustainable Energy Transition-