Growth in carbon emissions in 2019 slowed from the sharp increase seen in the previous year, as primary energy consumption decelerated and renewables and natural gas displaced coal from the energy mix
- Primary energy consumption growth slowed to 1.3% last year, less than half the rate of growth in 2018 (2.8%).
- The increase in energy consumption was driven by renewables and natural gas, which together contributed three quarters of the expansion. All fuels grew at a slower rate than their 10-year averages, apart from nuclear.
- By country, China was by far the biggest driver of energy, accounting for more than three quarters of net global growth. India and Indonesia were the next largest contributors to growth, while the US and Germany posted the largest declines.
- Carbon emissions from energy use grew by 0.5%, less than half 10-year average growth of 1.1% per year, partially reversing some of the unusually strong increase in 2018 (2.1%).
- Oil consumption grew by a below-average 0.9 million barrels per day (b/d), or 0.9%. Demand for all liquid fuels (including biofuels) rose by 1.1 million b/d and topped 100 million b/d for the first time.
- Oil consumption growth was led by China (680,000 b/d) and other emerging economies, while demand fell in the OECD (-290,000 b/d).
- Global oil production fell by 60,000 b/d as strong growth in US output (1.7 million b/d) was more than offset by a decline in OPEC production (-2 million b/d), with sharp declines in Iran (-1.3 million b/d) Venezuela (-560,000 b/d) and Saudi Arabia (-430,000 b/d).
- Refinery utilisation fell sharply by 1.2 percentage points as capacity rose by 1.5 million b/d and throughput remained relatively unchanged.
- Natural gas consumption increased by 78 billion cubic metres (bcm), or 2%, well below the exceptional growth seen in 2018 (5.3%). Nevertheless, the share of gas in primary energy rose to a record high of 24.2%.
Increases in gas demand were driven by the US (27 bcm) and China (24 bcm), while Russia and Japan saw the largest declines (10 and 8 bcm respectively).
- Gas production grew by 132 bcm (3.4%), with the US accounting for almost two-thirds of this increase (85 bcm). Australia (23 bcm) and China (16 bcm) were also key contributors to growth.
- Inter-regional gas trade expanded at a rate of 4.9%, more than double its 10-year average, driven by a record increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) of 54 bcm (12.7%).
- LNG supply growth was led by the US (19 bcm) and Russia (14 bcm), with most incremental supplies heading to Europe: European LNG imports (+49 bcm) rose by more than two-thirds.
- Coal consumption declined by 0.6% and its share in primary energy fell to its lowest level in 16 years (27%).
- Increases in coal consumption were driven by the emerging economies, particularly China (1.8 EJ) and Indonesia (0.6 EJ). However, this was outweighed by a sharp fall in OECD demand which fell to its lowest level in our data series (which starts in 1965).
- Global coal production rose by 1.5%, with China and Indonesia providing the only significant increases (3.2 EJ and 1.3 EJ respectively). The largest declines came from the US (-1.1 EJ) and Germany (-0.3 EJ).
Renewables, hydro and nuclear energy:
- Renewable energy (including biofuels) posted a record increase in consumption in energy terms (3.2 EJ). This was also the largest increment for any source of energy in 2019.
- Wind provided the largest contribution to renewables growth (1.4 EJ) followed closely by solar (1.2 EJ).
- By country, China was the largest contributor to renewables growth (0.8 EJ), followed by the US (0.3 EJ) and Japan (0.2 EJ).
- Hydroelectric consumption rose by a below-average 0.8%, with growth led by China (0.6 EJ), Turkey (0.3 EJ) and India (0.2 EJ).
- Nuclear consumption rose by 3.2% (0.8 EJ), its fastest growth since 2004. China (0.5 EJ) and Japan (0.1 EJ) provided the largest increments.
- Electricity generation grew by only 1.3% - around half its 10-year average. China accounted for more than 90% of net global growth.
- Renewables provided the largest increment to power generation, followed by natural gas while coal generation fell.
- The share of renewables in power generation increased from 9.3% to 10.4%, surpassing nuclear for the first time. Coal’s share of generation fell 1.5 percentage points to 36.4% - the lowest in our data set (which starts in 1985).
- Prices for cobalt and lithium carbonate fell sharply, by 54% and 31% respectively.
- Cobalt production was down 21.2%, largely due to a decline in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lithium production fell 19.2%, driven mainly by lower Australian output.