How We Use Energy in 2021
- Jul 21, 2021 1:23 pm GMT
Every summer, BP releases its annual benchmark publication, the Statistical Review of World Energy, which details trends in energy production and consumption over the course of the previous year. The report is backward-looking, so this year’s report includes data reflecting the impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Looking back in time since BP began publishing their Statistical Review in 1951, quite a lot has changed. Today’s energy mix, and the methods used to measure it, are quite different than they were 70 years ago. However, things are usually fairly similar from one year to the next: carbon emissions usually tick up by a few percent, and consumption of each energy source may move up or down by a few percent. Using the word “unprecedented” to describe 2020 is almost a cliché — nearly every chart from the year has at least one glaring discontinuity — but in terms of energy, the word is only fitting. During 2020, primary energy consumption and carbon emissions both saw their largest year-to-year drops since 1945, at 4.5% and 6.3% respectively. That brought global carbon emissions down to roughly 2011 levels. The carbon intensity of the energy mix, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of GDP, fell by 1.8%. World GDP fell by 3.5%, and China was the only country whose economy grew significantly in 2020, as well as the only country to see significant energy consumption growth.
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