One of my all time favorite Steve Martin scenes is “the new phone book is here!” from The Jerk:
Well this is how I feel every year with the release of the BP Statistical Survey of World Energy! It’s an energy geek’s best friend. I’m known to run around the neighborhood, channeling Steve Martin: “The new BP Statistical Survey of World Energy is here! The new BP Statistical Survey of World Energy is here! Things are going to start happening for me now!” (Yes, indeed I have an exciting life.)
The most recent edition was released on Wednesday of last week, and while I haven’t had time to pour through the copious data tables (my favorite part), I see that Robert Rapier, writing in Forbes, has already flagged the key headline from the data. For all of the chatter and happy talk about renewable energy, last year saw fossil fuel consumption increase to an all time record high. So much for “getting off fossil fuels.” Moreover, growth in hydrocarbon consumption was more than twice as much as the growth in renewable energy.
While global coal consumption did decline by 1% in 2015, the world set new consumption records for petroleum and natural gas. The net impact was a total increase in the world’s fossil fuel consumption of about 0.6%. That may not seem like much, but the net increase in fossil fuel consumption — the equivalent of 127 million metric tons of petroleum — was 2.6 times the overall increase in the consumption of renewables (48 million metric tons of oil equivalent).
Not hard to guess what’s happening to global CO2 emissions:
As a result, despite the record increase in renewable consumption, global carbon dioxide emissions once again set a new all-time record high. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2015 were 36 million metric tons higher than in 2014, and marked the 6th straight year a new record high has been set. But perhaps the silver lining is that 2015 marked the 2nd straight year that the increase was smaller than the year before. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 were 505 million tons higher than in 2012, but then 2014 and 2015 respectively saw increases of 224 million metric tons and 36 million metric tons.
Now excuuuuse me while I geek out for a while.