2015: Stable CO2 emissions in the G20 thanks to energy efficiency and to the decline of coal share.

2016. 6. 8.
Based on information for G20 countries, which represent 80% of the global demand, the annual Enerdata analysis shows the key trends as well as the evolution of world markets. After a surprising year in 2014, what do we learn from 2015?
  • Are we moving towards stabilization of energy consumption and CO2 emissions?
  • Can we already see the effects of energy efficiency policies as well as the shift of energy sourcestowards a lower carbon mix?
  • What lessons can we learn from major countries and zones (China, EU, USA, India…)?
  • Are the current trends in line with the COP21 agreements?


Key Points from Enerdata’s 2015 World Energy Trends Report…

2.8%: The weakest economic growth since 2002!

If the economic activity of OECD countries improved slightly (USA, EU…), that of non - OECD countries slowed down, particularly in China, and with some even declining (Brazil and Russia).

+0.5%: Near stagnation of energy consumption

As with last year, 2015 saw weak growth in energy consumption for G20 countries (10.8 Gtoe, or +0.5%, while the 10-year average exceeds 2%).

Within the OECD, consumption declined slightly. In non-OECD countries, the evolution becomes historic with an increase limited to 1.3%, compared to a 10-year average of 5%. Besides the direct impact of the economic downturn mentioned above, this result comes largely from China where the near stagnation of energy consumption confirms a trend beginning in 2014 towards a less energy-intensive economy.

0: Stability of CO2 emissions – cyclical or structural?

After the surprising slowdown in 2014, 2015 also saw a stable level of CO2 -energy emissions* (27 GtCO2). A direct result from the stagnation in energy consumption, this figure also results from a slight modification in the power mix, in particular from the decline in coal consumption (China, USA…).

-3 %: Decrease in the carbon intensity** of the economy

In 2015 we acknowledge a 3% decrease in carbon intensity compared to an historical average of -1.5%/year; this progress comes from a decrease in China (stability of energy consumption and decrease of coal share in the mix) and in the USA (more gas, less coal).

A trend still far away from climate change targets set at the COP21

On the climate side, the stagnation of CO2 emissions is good news compared to previous years. This is mainly due to the relative weakness of economic growth.

Achieving the goals discussed at the COP21 (1.5 to 2° temperature increase by the end of the century), in fact requires a lasting stagnation of global energy consumption and a strong reduction of CO2 emissions. Thus, with a global GDP growth assumption of 3% per year, this would imply an average carbon intensity reduction target of 5 to 6% per year… (Source: EnerFuture Scenarios – Enerdata)

If energy consumption is stagnating, however, we find different trends according to the markets:

The oil market is particularly linked to the transport sector; the increase in demand recorded in 2015 (+2%) derives primarily from the increase in vehicle fleet (China, India…) and to a lesser extent from lower prices (particularly in the US).

The decline in investments in the upstream sector leaves us to predict, however, a decrease in mid-term production capacity and new pressure on supply/demand…

Gas demand remained stable in 2015

The structural increase continues in the US (replacing coal); in a more cyclical manner, the demand benefitted from a colder climate in Europe but fell sharply in Russia (economic recession).

At the production level, the US is No. 1 worldwide before Russia, but with a downward trend for several months (shale gas).

Coal consumption decreases

Confirming the surprise in 2014: thanks to a new decline observed in China (-3.7%) and in the US (-11%), and despite continued strong growth in India, demand for coal shrinks at the G20 level (- 2.7%).

Stagnation of power consumption

The demand in power has been stagnant for several years in developed countries. The result is more surprising for non-OECD countries, where growth shrinks significantly.

Is this a sign of a slowdown of the increasing weight of power in the overall mix?

Power mix continues its slow transformation

In recent years, energy policies have shown visible effects: if coal remains at a stable and dominant position (43%), renewable energies (+6 points since 2000) and gas (+3 points) gain market share, mainly against nuclear (-6 points).

Investments in renewable energy continue, particularly in Asia. Wind power production becomes significant in the global power mix (4%), while solar PV represents 1%.


 *: CO2-energy: emissions from energy combustion

**: Carbon intensity of the economy

Measuring the level of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP, carbon intensity is the key indicator for measuring the structural evolution of diverse economies.

Carbon intensity evolves with:

  • Energy intensity: energy consumption/unit of GDP
  • Energy Carbon Factor: CO2 emissions by energy unit


Resource: Enerdata