In 2020, primary energy consumption and carbon emissions from energy consumption recorded the fastest drop ever since the Second World War, according to data released by BP in the 70th edition of the annual “BP Statistical Review of World Energy”. Renewable energies, on the other hand, continued their strong growth trajectory, especially wind and solar energy, which had their largest annual growth.
Worldwide, carbon emissions from energy consumption fell 6% in 2020, the biggest drop since 1945. Looking at the figures for Europe alone, emissions totaled 2.5 billion tons, a 13% drop from 2019 and the lowest level since at least 1965, according to the oil company. A trend recorded practically in every country.
2020 will be marked as one of the most surprising and challenging years ever. The confinements that have been perpetuated around the world have had a dramatic impact on energy markets, particularly for oil, whose transportation-related demand has beenSpencer Dale, BP’s chief economist
Primary energy consumption fell 4.5% in 2020, the biggest drop ever since 1945. This decline was driven mostly by oil, accounting for about three-quarters of the net decline. World demand for oil fell by 9.3%, with the biggest drop recorded in the United States of America, Europe and India. In China, however, consumption continued to grow.
Coal consumption was down 4.2% worldwide, driven by declines in the US and India. In the OECD it reached the lowest level historically, according to information collected by BP, dating back to 1965. The report noted that China and Malaysia were the exceptions as they recorded an increase in coal consumption.
Renewable energies, meanwhile, continued to grow. “Wind, solar and hydroelectric production recorded increases, despite the drop in overall energy demand. Wind and solar capacity increased to a colossal 238 GW in 2020 – over 50% more than at any time in history,” the report announced.
Looking by country, the United States of America, India and Russia saw the largest declines in energy consumption in history. “China recorded its highest growth (2.1%), one of the few countries where energy demand increased last year.”
What the report found encouraging was that 2020 was also the year for renewables to excel in global energy production, recording the fastest growth ever – driven mostly by the cost associated with coal-fired power generation. “These trends are precisely what the world needs as it faces its transition to carbon neutrality – this strong growth will give renewables more room over coal,” Spencer Dale said.