The annual energy review by BP showed that in 2020, there was rapid expansion of wind and solar power capacity while there was a significant drop in global energy demand because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, BP also noted in the report that these statistics were not yet reflective of a “decisive shift” towards renewable energy in a manner that the United Nations climate goals are achieved.
BP’s 2020 Statistical Review revealed that the largest drop in carbon emissions in more than 75 years was noted last year which put the globe closer to the path needed to achieve a target of restraining global warming below 2 degrees Celsius within this century.
“Importantly, there was no sign of the decisive shift envisaged” by the less than 2 degrees Celsius scenario, BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said in remarks ahead of the release of the review, which is seen as a benchmark for the industry.
“There is a good chance that much of that dip proves transitory,” he said, adding that changes in 2020 were induced by the pandemic and the world still needed “tangible, concrete differences” to meet climate targets.
There was a 4.5 per cent drop in demand for energy globally in 2020 because of the global economic slowdown last year as countries imposed strict lockdowns and other restrictions to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The review noted that the drop was largely driven by a 9.3 per cent drop in oil consumption globally.
Global oil demand dropped by about 20 per cent or 20 million barrels per day at the lowest point of drop in oil demand in April 2020.
“This is just off the charts relative to anything seen in history,” Dale said and added that the drop in energy demand and use would get reversed with revival of economies after the end of the global health crisis.
The review noted that there was a 6.3 per cent drop in heat-trapping carbon emissions last year which was the largest fall since the Second World War and it broke a steady rise in recent years even as various governments were implementing policies and measures faster to tackle climate change and global warming.
One of the largest energy companies of the world, BP itself has set a target of reducing emissions from the oil and gas it produces to net zero by 2050 with increasing pressure on the global energy industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The trends we’re seeing here are exactly the trends we’d want to see as the world transitions to net zero – strong growth in renewables. Crowding out coal is exactly what the world needs to see,” Dale said.
Governments have also been called upon to impose a price on carbon emissions so that the use of renewables and low-carbon energy is boosted.
“The increase in installed capacity last year was 50% bigger than at any time seen in history, despite the world (being) in turmoil, despite the largest peace-time recession,” Dale said.
(Adapted from TheGlobeAndMail.com)