BP Outlook: World projected to fall far short of Paris climate accord

The world is on pace to fall far short of the 2015 Paris climate goals, even though the rate of global carbon emissions will fall sharply, according to BP’s annual Energy Outlook.

The 20-year outlook report released Wednesday projects global carbon emissions will grow by 0.6 percent a year — compared to 2.1 percent now — but the contention that emissions will still be increasing at all by 2035 places the world well off of its stated goals.

New President Donald Trump has said he’s considering pulling out of the accord, but he also indicated he’ll keep an “open mind” about the deal. His pick for secretary of state, former Exxon Mobil chief Rex Tillerson, said the U.S. should stay “at the table” on the agreement.

Carbon emissions need to fall by around 30 percent by 2035 to have a good chance of achieving the goals set out in Paris to prevent the world’s average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. As such, more governmental intervention and policies are needed, said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley.

“In BP, we continue to believe that carbon pricing has an important part to play as it provides incentives for everyone — producers and consumers alike — to play their part,” Dudley said.

BP has increasingly advocated for so-called carbon taxes with an aim toward the world relying more on natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal. BP has invested more in natural gas production in recent years.

BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said renewable energy will grow by nearly 8 percent a year, nearly quadrupling by 2035, and will by far represent the fastest-growing energy source.

Natural gas growth will easily outpace oil and coal, and almost two-thirds of the growth comes from the power sector for electricity, Dale said. Coal demand worldwide will peak in the mid-2020s as China shifts toward cleaner energy sources, and oil demand will keep rising, but at a pace of less than 1 percent a year.

Where there’s great dispute though is the impact of electric vehicles worldwide, the growth of which slows oil demand. BP projects electric vehicles globally will increase from 1.2 million in 2015 to 100 million in 2035. While that seems like a huge jump, that would still only represent less than 5 percent of the global vehicle fleet that’s expected to exceed 2 billion by 2035.