2020 Global Energy Data Shows Fossil Fuels Completely Dominate World Energy Use – Watts Up With That?

2020 Global Energy Data Shows Fossil Fuels Completely Dominate World Energy Use – Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

British Petroleum has published its Global Energy Statistical Review for year 2021 showing dramatic pandemic caused declines in global energy use and emissions. Global energy use declined by 4.5% during the extraordinary 2020 pandemic year compared to year 2019 with global CO2 emissions dropping 6.3% in 2020 as well. These declines are the largest that have occurred in these measures since 1945 as shown below.

Declines in global oil consumption accounted for nearly three quarters of the year 2020 energy use decline.

Of the 195 global nations only one nation in the world had increasing use of all fossil fuel energy categories and increased CO2 emissions compared to year 2019 and that nation was China which saw increased total energy use climb by 2.1% with energy use of oil, natural gas and coal all increasing despite the devastating impacts of the global wide Covid pandemic.

As noted in the BP report the year 2020 global energy use changes are highlighted as follows with the graph below displaying this information.  

“Primary energy consumption decreased by 4.5% last year, the first decline in energy consumption since 2009. The decline was driven largely by oil (-9.7%), which accounted for almost three quarters of the decrease. Consumption for all fuels decreased, apart from renewables (+9.7%) and hydro (+1.0%). Consumption fell across all the regions, with the largest declines in North America (-8.0%) and Europe (-7.8%). The lowest decrease was in Asia-Pacific (-1.6%) due to the growth in China (+2.1%), the only major country where energy consumption increased in 2020. In the other regions, the decline in consumption ranged between -7.8% in South and Central America to -3.1% in the Middle East.”

The world’s developing nations led by China and India are now accountable for 61% of all global energy use (a figure which continues to climb each year) with China’s energy consumption now greater than the total energy use of both the U.S. and EU combined. Additionally, the world’s developing nations are now accountable for 82% of the global use of coal fuel with this figure climbing to that level in year 2020. China alone accounts for 57% of all global coal use. Renewables represent only 5.4% of China’s total energy use and only 4% of the world’s developing nations total energy use in year 2020.

The massive global dominance of the world’s developing nations in driving the continually increasing production and consumption of coal fuel use is depicted in the diagram below from the BP report.

In year 2020 fossil fuels accounted for 86.4% of the world’s developing nations total energy use and 84.9% of China’s total energy use. Fossil fuels provided 83.1% of total global energy consumption in year 2020 while after trillions of dollars in subsidies and decades of global government mandates renewables only accounting for 5.7% of the world’s total energy use in year 2020.

Global demand for increased use of coal fuel in the post pandemic period is already occurring as demonstrated by EIA data showing a surging export boom for U.S. coal as noted below driven by global demand from the world’s developing nations that dominate all global energy use (especially coal) and emissions.

The world’s developed nations (including the U.S., EU and UK) total energy use is also dominated by fossil fuels with these fuels providing 78% of the year 2020 total energy needs of the developed nations. Renewables only accounted for about 8.3% of the developed nations 2020 total energy needs despite all the climate alarmist hype about “net zero” propaganda and all the government mandates and trillions of dollars of subsidies pushing unreliable renewables.  

The U.S. year 2020 total energy consumption was also dominated by fossil fuels with these fuels providing about 81.7% of U.S. total energy needs with renewables only accounting for about 7% of U.S. total energy needs. The U.S. has been mandating use of renewables since the passage of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) legislation in 1978 and yet after 42 years of government politicians demanding use of these unreliable energy resources they provided only 7% of total U.S. energy in year 2020.

Even in California the latest EIA energy use data shows that fossil fuels provided 72.4% of the state’s total energy use (led first by petroleum and second by natural gas) with renewables only accounting for about 12% of the state’s total energy. Wind and solar provided just 6.8% of California’s total energy use. 

Oil fuel represents the most used fossil fuel in the world with that resource accounting for 31.2% of total global energy consumption. The continually increasing production and consumption of oil fuel in meeting the world’s energy needs is shown in the diagram below from the BP report.

Wind and solar accounted for only 3.9% of year 2020 total global energy consumption and only 2.7% of the world’s developing nations total energy use with these nations completely dominating global energy use and growth. These nations have no interest and zero commitments to reducing future fossil fuel energy use and resulting emissions that might interfere with these nations needed and continued economic growth.

Wind and solar provided only 5.7% of the developed nations year 2020 total energy use and only 4.8% of U.S. year 2020 total energy use. 

Renewables will never dominate global energy use because they are too unreliable and impose huge reliability costs on energy systems that are required to sustain the reliable flow of energy that is required to promote necessary and productive economic growth. Those who believe otherwise are completely out of touch with global energy reality and in denial regarding the huge reliability problems that are unavoidable with renewables.       

These global energy use outcomes demonstrate that Biden and his Democrats, the UK and EU leaders have completely failed to create any meaningful political initiative to match their hyped speeches about world “net zero” propaganda. China and the developing nations are in complete control of all global energy use and emissions outcomes with these nations leaders oblivious to any schemes that would threaten damage to their goals to expand their economic growth and global power.              

The year 2020 global energy use consumption by resource type are addressed as follows in the BP report with the graph displaying this information shown below. 

“Oil continues to hold the largest share of the energy mix (31.2%). Coal is the second largest fuel in 2020, accounting for 27.2% of total primary energy consumption, a slight increase from 27.1% in the previous year. The share of both natural gas and renewables rose to record highs of 24.7% and 5.7% respectively. Renewables has now overtaken nuclear which makes up only 4.3% of the energy mix. Hydro’s share of energy increased by 0.4 percentage points last year to 6.9%, the first increase since 2014.”

China’s domination of global CO2 emissions grew even more with the increase in these emissions in year 2020 making China now accountable for 31% of all global CO2 emissions at 9,893.5 million metric tons with their total emissions now about 2.25 times the CO2 emissions of the U.S. which declined to 4,432.2 million metric tons. 

The world’s developing nations further increased their dominance of all global emissions with year 2020 CO2 emissions now accountable for 2/3rds of all global CO2 emissions at 21,253.3 million metric tons. The world’s developing nations now control 61% of all global energy use and 2/3rds of all global CO2 emissions

U.S. CO2 emissions have declined since their peak level in 2007 of 5,884.2 million metric tons by about 1.45 billion metric tons to 4,432.2 million metric tons in year 2020. EU CO2 emissions have declined since 2007 from 3,579.3 million metric tons by 1.03 billion metric tons to 2,548.8 million metric tons in year 2020. 

Despite these declines global CO2 emissions have increased between 2007 and 2020 by over 1.9 billion metric tons because the world’s developing nations have increased their CO2 emissions during this period by over 4.89 billion metric tons with China alone accounting for over 2.65 billion metric tons of this total increase.

The table below presents global CO2 emissions data in the BP report updated to year 2020 outcomes. The year 2020 reduction in global CO2 emissions of just over 2 billion metric tons of CO2 results from the pandemic impacts and lower energy use during year 2020. As noted above regarding the new global coal use boom the end of the pandemic driven global economic decline of year 2020 will drive new growth in energy use through increased consumption of fossil fuels by the world’s developing nations that dominate global energy use and emissions.

The BP report also contains data regarding global electricity use which declined slightly (about 0.6%) in 2020 versus 2019. Global electricity use is again dominated by use of fossil fuels which accounted for 61.3% of total global electricity use. Renewables only provided about 11.7% of year 2020 total global electricity use with large hydro at 16% and nuclear at 10%.

The developing nations dominate global electricity use and account for about 60% of total global electricity use versus about 40% for the developed nations. The developing nations used fossil fuels for about 68.2% of their electricity with renewables only accounting for about 8.5% of their total electricity. Large hydro accounted of about 17.7% of the developing nations electricity and nuclear about 5.1%.

The developed nations used fossil fuels for about 51.3% of their total electricity with renewables representing about 16.4% of their electricity use. Hydro accounted for about 13.6% and nuclear about 17.2% of their electricity.

Comparing China and the U.S. shows that China uses about 81.5% more electricity than the U.S. with fossil fuels accounting for about 66.5% of China’s electricity compared to 60.7% fossil fuels for U.S. electricity. Renewables accounted for about 11% of China’s electricity while the in the U.S. they accounted for about 12.9%.   

 The BP electricity data is shown below.

The world’s developing nations completely dominate global energy use and emissions and are unwaveringly committed to future economically driven increased use of fossil fuels for energy growth with resulting future increases of global CO2 emissions.

That will not stop because of the absurd “net zero” propaganda schemes being promoted by Biden and his Democrats, the UK and EU “leaders” who represent nothing but a completely ineffective and unrealistic minority position concerning global energy use and emissions. In essence these out of touch with energy reality “leaders” are just the proverbial “tail trying to wag the dog” and represent nothing more than a trivial nuisance to the developing nations leadership. All these incompetent “leaders” will accomplish is to destroy their economies and hand the global economic future over to the world’s developing nations to dictate the “haves and the haves nots” of our future world.


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