The world’s wind and solar energy capacity grew at a record pace last year, while the oil industry recorded its steepest decline in demand since World War II, according to BP.
The impact of coronavirus lockdowns on the energy industry led to a 6% drop in carbon emissions the year before, the sharpest drop since 1945, according to BP’s annual review of the energy sector.
But the report says the impact of Covid on carbon emissions must be repeated every year for the next three decades, if governments hope to limit global warming to 1
“Yes, they were the biggest declines seen in 75 years,” said Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist. “But they arose in the wake of a global pandemic and the greatest economic recession in post-war history. The challenge is to reduce emissions without causing massive disruption and damage to everyday life and livelihoods. ”
The warning repeats a report by the International Energy Agency last month, which predicted that world demand for oil would jump by 5.4 million. Barrels a day this year, one of the fastest increases recorded, and again to the last level before the pre-pandemic. of 2022.
BP’s annual energy review, published annually since 1952, is considered influential in the energy industry and helps inform the company’s strategic decisions. Last year, BP set out a plan to cut oil production and increase renewable energy production within the next decade on its way to becoming a zero-energy company by 2050.
Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, said: “Yes, the world needs more low-carbon companies. But perhaps more than anything else, it also needs existing energy companies to decarbonize, and in that way you need to use their scale and expertise to help create the deep and complex switchover and redevelopment of the global energy system that the world wants. and need to see over the next 30 years. ”
BP’s latest energy evaluation showed that the world’s total energy consumption fell by 4.5% in 2020, mainly driven by a decline in demand for crude oil of 9.7% used to produce transport fuels or just over 9 million. Barrels of oil a day. Dale said the collapse of demand was “far greater than anything seen in history, and far greater than the fall” in other energy sources.
Meanwhile, the “relentless expansion of renewable energy” meant that electricity produced by wind, solar and hydropower plants was “relatively undamaged,” Dale said.
The report showed that global wind and solar energy capacity grew by 238GW by 2020, more than five times greater than the UK’s total renewable energy capacity. The increase was mainly driven by China, which accounted for approx. half of the global increase in production capacity for wind and solar energy, but even controlling for 2020 was a record year for the construction of wind and solar farms.
Dale said the trend away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy last year was “exactly what the world needs to see when it transitions to net zero”.