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Global insights

The world transitions to a lower carbon energy mix as renewables penetrate rapidly at the expense of fossil fuels, but with significant variation between scenarios

Highlights

22% to 59%

Share of renewables in 2050, up from 5% in 2018

 

22% to 67%

Share of fossil fuels in 2050, down from 85% in 2018

 

34% to 52%

Share of electricity in total final consumption in 2050

 

Global energy demand grows in all three scenarios, driven by increasing levels of prosperity in emerging economies
 
Under all three scenarios, the share of renewables in the energy mix increases significantly
 
The world continues to electrify, leading the power sector to play a central role in the global energy system

Projections

  • Energy demand grows by 0.3% p.a. in Rapid and Net Zero and 0.7% p.a. in Business-as-usual (BAU). This is significantly slower than the past 20 years, reflecting weaker economic growth and faster improvements in energy intensity.
  • Between 2018 and 2050 net carbon emissions from energy use decline by 10% in BAU, 72% in Rapid and 96% in Net Zero.
  • Global energy intensity declines in all three scenarios. In BAU it declines by 45% and by 53% in both Rapid and Net Zero.
  • The industrial sector remains the largest consumer of energy, albeit with small declines in its share under all three scenarios.
  • Energy demand from the transport sector grows by 0.7% p.a. in both Rapid and Net Zero and by 0.9% p.a. in BAU. However, growth is significantly slower than the past 20 years (2.2% p.a.).
  • Oil and coal consumption decline in all three scenarios. For oil, the decline ranges from 10% to 78%. For coal the decline is more marked, ranging from 22% to 92%.
  • The outlook for gas is more durable than either coal or oil. Consumption in 2050 increases by 35% in BAU and drops by 4% in Rapid and 41% in Net Zero.
  • Nuclear gains share in the energy mix in all scenarios, reaching 7% BAU, 9% in Rapid and 10% in Net Zero.
  • On average, renewable energy consumption grows every year by 5.7% in BAU, 7.5% in Rapid and 8.5% in Net Zero, aided by falling costs of production and policies encouraging a shift to lower carbon energy sources.
  • The share of primary energy absorbed by the power sector increases from 43% in 2018 to 53% in BAU and 61% in both Rapid and Net Zero.
  • Global carbon emissions decline by 10% in BAU, 72% in Rapid and 96% in Net Zero between 2018 and 2050.