Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy-related sources are projected to rise 0.6% per year from 2018 to 2050, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The growth in energy-related CO2 emissions is expected to come from the group of countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Countries outside of the OECD have more population, a larger gross domestic product, more energy consumption and higher energy-related CO2 emissions compared with OECD countries. Growth rates for the previous data in non-OECD countries are higher than for OECD countries.
As the non-OECD countries grow, so does their demand for air conditioning, electronics, personal vehicles and other energy services, according to the EIA. These countries also have energy-intensive industries as energy-intensive industrial processes shift to them. Energy consumption in these countries is projected to rise by 1.6% annually from 2018 to 2050, while energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to increase by 1% per year.
Coal-related CO2 emissions in these countries, especially China, is expected to increase at the slowest rate among fossil fuels as natural gas replaces coal in power generation and in industrial sectors. Globally, China emits the most energy-related CO2 emissions, and it will continue to release the most through 2050. China is the single-largest emitter of coal-related CO2 emissions. India’s coal-related CO2 emissions are projected to rise by 2.8% annually from 2018 to 2050, and this is the highest expected rise of the eight countries in EIA’s projections.
Economic activity in OECD countries has become less energy intensive as these economies shift from energy-intensive manufacturing to less energy-intensive manufacturing and commercial services. Energy-related CO2 emissions in these countries is expected to fall by 0.2% from 2018 to 2050. CO2 emissions from petroleum liquids and coal consumption are projected to fall as emissions from natural gas consumption rises.
Among OECD countries, the United States is projected to release the most energy-related CO2 emissions, and among all countries, the United States is expected to have the largest amount of natural gas-related emissions through 2050. Petroleum liquids-related CO2 emissions from the United States and China, which are the top emitters of petroleum liquids-related CO2 emissions, are expected to be similar over the period.
Per capita, OECD countries emit more energy-related CO2 than non-OECD countries. OECD countries emit about 9.5 metric tons per person, while non-OECD countries emit 3.6 metric tons per person. The gap between the countries is narrowing, and by 2050, OECD countries will emit 8.2 metric tons per person, while non-OECD countries emit 3.8 metric tons per person.
Also, global energy intensities and carbon intensities are expected to continue to fall. By 2032, non-OECD countries are projected to be less energy intensive than OECD countries. This means that non-OECD countries will use less energy to generate economic activity. However, non-OECD countries are projected to remain more carbon intensive than OECD countries through 2050. This means non-OECD countries will produce more CO2 emissions per unit of energy consumed. The differences in energy and carbon intensities reflect the different mix of fuels used to provide energy in the groups of countries. By 2050, non-OECD countries are projected to be about as carbon intensive as OECD countries are now.