BP’s group chief economist, Spencer Dale, led a subdued statistical review yesterday as emissions grew and the power sector saw no improvement in circumstances.
The review, while pointing to increases in natural gas and solar, lamented the unchanging nature of the fuel mix over the last 20 years as data remained stagnant.
Global energy demand also increased in 2017 by 2.2%, above its 10-year average of 1.7%.
Mr Dale said the “above-trend growth” was driven by stronger economic performance in the developed world and a slight slowing in the pace of improvement in energy intensity.
BP chief executive Bob Dudley said: “This year’s review looks at the energy mix within the power sector, for the first time, which astonishingly shows that the share of coal in the sector is unchanged from 20 years ago.
“As we have said in our Energy Outlook, our Technology Outlook and now our Statistical Review, the power system must decarbonize. We continue to believe that gains in the power sector are the most efficient way to drive down carbon emissions in coming decades.
“2017 was a year where structural forces in the energy market continued to push forward the transition to a lower carbon economy, but where cyclical factors have reversed or slowed some of the gains from prior years. These factors, combined with rising demand for energy, has resulted in a material increase in carbon emissions following three years of little or no growth.”
Mr Dale said global oil demand grew by 0.6 million barrels per day, with the largest increase seen in Libya while natural gas consumption rose by 96 billion cubic metres (bcm), or 3%, the fastest since 2010.
Solar contributed more than a third of renewable energy growth despite accounting for just 21% of the total, Mr Dale said, adding the reductions in costs had been a “significant” contributing factor.
Discussing the lack of movement in the power sector over two decades and emissions growth, Mr Dale said “it was one step forward, two steps back” but that at this stage he was only “a bit worried” but “not overly so”.