In the Outlook, the beginning of each text page (unless stated otherwise) highlights features of the energy transition common across all scenarios considered. For ease of exposition, much of the subsequent description and text boxes are based on the Evolving transition (ET) scenario, which assumes that government policies, technology and social preferences continue to evolve in a manner and speed seen over the recent past.
Some scenarios focus on specific fuels or policies, e.g. a possible ban on single-use plastics. Others focus on impact of possible changes in behaviour, e.g. an escalation in trade disputes or major oil producers reforming their economies faster than expected. The Outlook also considers the dual challenge facing the energy system: the need for ‘more energy’ and ‘less carbon’, including the contribution reducing carbon emissions in different sectors of the energy system – transport, power and industry and buildings – can make to achieving the Paris climate goals.
The Energy Outlook considers the energy transition from three different perspectives each of which helps to illuminate different aspects of the transition: the sectors in which energy is used; the regions in which it is consumed and produced; and the consumption and production of different fuels.
In the ET scenario, global energy demand grows by around a third by 2040 – a significantly slower rate of growth than in the previous 20 years or so.
Growth in energy consumption is broad-based across all the main sectors of the economy, with industry and buildings accounting for three-quarters of the increase in energy demand (Sectors).
By region, all of the growth in energy demand comes from fast-growing developing economies, led by India and China. Differing regional trends in energy production lead to noticeable shifts in global energy trade flows (Regions).
Renewable energy is the fastest growing source of energy, accounting for around half of the increase in energy. Natural gas grows much faster than either oil or coal. The growing abundance of energy supplies plays an increasing role in shaping global energy markets (Fuels).