The world energy outlook to 2035 hinges critically on government policy action, and how that action affects technology, the price of energy services and end‐user behaviour.
The world energy outlook to 2035 hinges critically on government policy action, and how that action affects technology, the price of energy services and end‐user behaviour. In recognition of the important policy advances that have been made recently, the central scenario in this year’s Outlook — the New Policies Scenario — takes account of the broad policy commitments and plans that have been announced by countries around the world, including the national pledges to reduce greenhouse‐ gas emissions and plans to phase out fossil‐energy subsidies even where the measures to implement these commitments have yet to be identified or announced. These commitments are assumed to be implemented in a relatively cautious manner, reflecting their non‐binding character and, in many cases, the uncertainty shrouding how they are to be put into effect. This scenario allows us to quantify the potential impact on energy markets of implementation of those policy commitments, by comparing it with a Current Policies Scenario (previously called the Reference Scenario), in which no change in policies as of mid‐2010 is assumed, i.e. that recent commitments are not acted upon. We also present the results of the 450 Scenario, which was first presented in detail in WEO‐2008, which sets out an energy pathway consistent with the 2°C goal through limitation of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to around 450 parts per million of CO2 equivalent (ppm CO2‐eq). The policy commitments and plans that governments have recently announced would, if implemented, have a real impact on energy demand and related CO2 emissions. In the New Policies Scenario, world primary energy demand increases by 36% between 2008 and 2035, from around 12 300 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) to over 16 700 Mtoe, or 1.2% per year on average. This compares with 2% per year over the previous 27‐year period. The projected rate of growth in demand is lower than in the Current Policies Scenario, where demand grows by 1.4% per year over 2008‐2035. In the 450 Scenario, demand still increases between 2008 and 2035, but by only 0.7% per year. Energy prices ensure that projected supply and demand are in balance throughout the Outlook period in each scenario, rising fastest in the Current Policies Scenario and slowest in the 450 Scenario. Fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas — remain the dominant energy sources in 2035 in all three scenarios, though their share of the overall primary fuel mix varies markedly. The shares of renewables and nuclear power are correspondingly highest in the 450 Scenario and lowest in the Current Policies Scenario. The range of outcomes — and therefore the uncertainty with respect to future energy use — is largest for coal, nuclear power and non‐hydro renewable energy sources.