Energy Consumption and the Carbon dioxide Emissions
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
According to some estimates in 2018 alone world consumed 580 ExaJoules of primary energy and roughly 85% of that energy came from fossil fuels. And the burning of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas) has been inextricably linked to the rising levels of greenhouse gases particularly carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere and is a leading contributor of climate change.
Therefore, even if we continue using the same amount of energy as we do today, with growing population as the UN has projected that the world population would reach a staggering 11 Billion number by 2100, energy demand would be significantly increased as well in the future.
The other important thing to understand is that, In 2018, 7.594 billion people consumed 580 ExaJoules of primary energy that also include more than a billion people around the world without access to energy who can't afford energy or can't access to energy due to some quality and reliability issues. Sooner, they would also drive the energy demand upward as their countries develop and bring electrification to powerless communities.
For instance, If we assume 100 GigaJoules per capita then we are talking about doubling the global energy demand by roughly 1100 ExaJoules by 2100.
To put it into context, if everyone in the world started consuming as much energy as an average citizen in the United States consume then we would need 6 times more energy than today.
Therefore, If we don't move from fossil fuels to low carbon energy solutions then an increase in energy consumption in the future would also increase in Carbon dioxide emissions and If we are really serious about getting to low carbon energy future then we need to focus not only on new infrastructure but also on the emissions that are “locked in” to existing systems.
According to some estimate by Robert Armstrong, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative “By 2050 we will still be getting 75% of our energy from fossil fuels”. “A critical issue for us will be to figure out how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from those energy sources. That is going to require carbon capture storage and utilisation. Lowering the cost of capturing the carbon is probably the toughest piece of that but we also need to figure out how to store it for geological timeframes.”
There are lots of promising carbon capture storage technologies such as natural climate based solutions, direct air carbon dioxide, ocean fertilization, mineralization etc. but all of them have their own bottlenecks and engineering challenges that they need to overcome to become scaleable.
But, i truly believe that with right policy and technology innovation carbon capture and storage have the power to be global clean energy industry which can help us decarbonize global economy faster.