BP: Global carbon emissions flat for third year in a row

BP: Global carbon emissions flat for third year in a row

BP: Global carbon emissions flat for third year in a row

The worldwide shift away from fossil fuels and toward more renewable sources of energy is proceeding despite President Donald Trump's efforts to undo climate change initiatives such as the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plant and US involvement in the Paris climate change accords.

In 2016, world coal consumption fell by 1.7%, showing the highest pace since the record began, despite the reduction in demand for this type of fuel in most countries in the world, according to an annual report of BP Plc on global trends in energy sector. Production saw its largest ever annual drop at 6.2 percent, BP said. Both countries have vowed to significantly increase investment in renewables, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency measures, potentially leading to further downward pressure on energy demand in the coming years.

In perhaps a sign of things to come, China overtook the U.S.as the largest single producer of renewables, while Europe and Eurasia were overtaken by Asia Pacific as the world's largest renewable power producing region.

"The fortunes of coal appear to have taken a decisive break from the past", writes Spencer Dale, BP's chief economist. China, which accounted for about half of the coal burned in the world, used 1.6 percent less of the fuel, compared with an average 3.7 percent annual expansion in the 11 preceding years. Many oil and gas companies are starting to shift towards low-carbon models in the face of growing concerns around climate change.

Globally, consumption of coal slumped by 1.7 percent, the second year in the row that it declined. In the United Kingdom, coal supply and demand plummeted to levels not seen since the start of the Industrial Revolution, almost 200 years ago.

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World coal production fell by a record 6.2 per cent, while in the United Kingdom coal consumption more than halved. China surpassed the United States previous year as the world's biggest renewable power producer, BP said.

The annual review found while renewables only met 4 per cent of total primary energy demand globally, the growth in renewables represented almost a third of the total growth in energy demand in 2016.

Still, there needs to be a "significant fall" in emissions in order to meet the Paris climate goals, Dale said.

China's energy demand growth in 2015 and 2016, 1.2 and 1.3 percent respectively, although still the strongest in the world, marked its lowest over a two-year period since 1997-98. OPEC said Tuesday it expects oil demand to rise by 2 million barrels a day this year. China is vowing to invest $361 billion in renewables by 2020, yet the Trump administration is doubling down on fossil fuel production, all while criticizing China for not doing enough to control its emissions.

This week, BP released its Statistical Review of World Energy on 2016 data.

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