Global Energy Consumption Likely to Surge 56% by 2040

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Posted: July 26, 2013 at 1:34 am

Worldwide energy consumption will reach 820 quadrillion BTUs by 2040 from 524 quadrillion BTUs in 2010—half of it in China and India, predicts the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA’s forecast is part of the agency’s International Energy Outlook 2013 report. The projection assumes global gross domestic product will grow an average 3.6% per year: 2.1% for developed countries and 4.7% for emerging economies.

Given current government policies and regulations, global carbon dioxide emissions related to energy use will jump 46% to 45 billion metric tons by 2040, according to the analysis.

The EIA notes that China’s energy consumption surpassed the U.S. in 2009 and predicts it will reach 220 quadrillion BTUs—double the U.S. level—by 2040.

Energy usage reached parity between developed economies (represented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and non-OECD countries in about 2005, the report says. By 2040, energy consumption by those two groups will climb 17% and 90%, respectively, and non-OECD countries will account for about two-thirds of global energy consumption.

The EIA estimates that worldwide demand for petroleum and other liquid fuels will rise from 87 million barrels per day in 2010 to 97 million bpd in 2020 and 115 million bpd in 2040. It says growth in the use of coal, the world’s second-largest source of energy after liquids, will stop growing over the next decade and begin to decline after 2025 as countries increasingly turn to cleaner energy sources.

One BTU is roughly equivalent to the energy released by burning a single wooden match. Eight gallons of gasoline is the equivalent of about one million BTUs.