With the UN predicting the global population to grow
from 7.3 billion today to 9.2 billion by 2040, our demands for energy must
increase significantly in that time. Both an increase in population and
increasing standards of living for many people in developing countries are and
will continue to cause a strong growth in energy demand. Over 70% of the
increased energy demand is coming from developing countries, mainly China and
India. China has surpassed the USA as the world’s largest energy consumer, and
by 2040 the country has been predicted to use nearly twice as much energy as
the USA. Imposed upon this is, the UN Population Division projects an ongoing
trend of urbanisation, from 52% in 2011 to a predicted 62% in 2035 and then
going on to reach 70% worldwide by 2050, enabling the global population to
stabilize at approximately 9 billion with improved food supply, clean water,
sanitation, health, education, and communication facilities.

Coal is not in limited
supply, but large quantities of the resource need to be moved from where it is
plentiful to where it will be needed (mainly for power generation). This transportation
has both economic and environmental implications (e.g. transportation). Natural
gas is abundant, with supplies in several countries increasing due to more advanced
technology (gas in shale beds). Oil is becoming
more and more limited, even though production has increased due to fracking. However, it is invaluable being heavily used in
transport.

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In the World
Energy Outlook 2016 New Policies scenario, there are many changes being
made in the future. Coal-fired power
generation doubled in the 20 years to 2014, growth in coal use will slow down,
with only a projected 5.5% increase in demand by 2040. Coal’s share of
electricity production is expected to drop significantly
from 41% today to 28% by 2040. The nuclear share increases marginally to 12%
(The nuclear industries goal is for nuclear power to provide 25% of electricity
by 2050). Gases contribution increases slightly from 22% today to 23% by 2040.
However, there is a 15% increase in the contribution of non-hydro renewables,
from 6% today to 21% in 2040.

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