BP: We are going to miss the 2°C warming target

By John Parnell

BP’s chief economist has dismissed the prospect of the world avoiding 2°C of warming.

Speaking at the launch of the company’s latest 2030 Global Energy Outlook, Christof Rühl, BP Group’s chief economist said that the limit of CO2 emissions associated with manageable levels of warming will be surpassed.

“Everybody knows we are going to miss the 2°C target,” said Rühl but he did reveal that BP’s analysis expects the pace of greenhouse emissions growth to slow between now and 2030.

While the claim from one of the world’s largest oil companies will attract negative attention, it is an assertion backed by some climate scientists.

The third Global Energy Outlook also firmed up the BP’s previous assertion that renewables would be the fastest growing energy source by 2030 with an average growth rate of 8%.

Rühl did warn that renewable energy could face the same problem as nuclear if political support wanes and subsidies can’t keep pace with the growth.

The graph on the left shows the “nuclear ceiling” versus the, so far, continued growth of renewables. (Source: BP)

“Nuclear energy hit a ceiling where the political support and the costs involved were no longer in its favour. The question [for renewables] is what is the limit where subsidies can’t keep up with the demand if the efficiency of the technology doesn’t improve at the same rate,” said Rühl.

While this is a risk for the clean energy sector, Rühl said the wider spread of renewables, its simpler technology and lower costs could protect it from hitting “the nuclear ceiling”.

BP also refuted claims that the world was running out of oil, predicted a more diverse energy mix globally and an energy efficiency improvement by 2030 of 31%.


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