BP CEO: "The world is on an unsustainable path"

The oil major's 68th Statistical Review of World Energy found a siparity between demands for climate change action and the actual pace of progress

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley addresses The 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul on July 12 2017
Ozan Kose/AFPGetty Images
BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley addresses The 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul on July 12 2017

BP released its 68th annual Statistical Review of World Energy (BP Stats Review), which found a growing divergence between demands for action on climate change and the actual pace of progress on reducing carbon emissions.

Global energy demand grew 2.9% in 2018, while carbon emissions grew 2%, which BP says is faster than any time since 2010 to 2011. Energy demand growth was driven by China the US and India, which collectively accounted for two thirds of the growth. In the report, Spencer Dale, BP's chief economist, attributed much of the growth to surprising weather effects, noting that there was an unusually large amount of hot and cold days which would require heating or cooling services.

Consumption and production of natural gas was up over 5%, reflecting one of the strongest rates of growth for more than 30 years. Coal production (4.3% growth) and consumption (1.4% growth) grew for the second year in a row, after three years of decline between 2014 and 2016. Meanwhile, renewables grew 14.5%, but only accounted for a third of the increase in total power generation.

"There is a growing mismatch between societal demands for action on climate change and the actual pace of progress, with energy demand and carbon emissions growing at their fastest rate for years," said Dale. "The world is on an unsustainable path."

"The longer carbon emissions continue to rise, the harder and more costly will be the necessary eventual adjustment to net-zero carbon emissions," concluded Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive. "As I have said before, this is not a race to renewables, but a race to reduce carbon emissions across many fronts." 

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