Data on energy consumption and CO2 emissions

03 Apr 2018

I like to start my courses in energy economics and environmental economics by asking some question like

Which energy source, e.g. gas, coal, nuclear, oil, renewables had the largest absolute increase in world wide energy consumption between the years 2000 und 2016?

And then show some data. Below you can see an updated version of a googleVis visualization of primary energy consumption of different sources for selected world regions (You need to install and activate the flash player plugin to see the figures.)

Units are MTOE (Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent).

  • Interesting enough, it is coal that had the highest increase in absolute consumption between 2000 and 2016

  • You can change the world region by clicking on the y-axis and see that this was driven by a rapid extension of chinese coal consumption between 2000 and 2013.

  • However, chinese coal consumption has peaked in 2013 and ever so sligthly dropped from this year onwards. Is this a temporary break or a sustainable change in trend? The later would be really good news for world climate. For some background information, you can take a look at this article.

  • In absolute terms renewable energy (excluding hydro energy) supply is still very low. However, if you set the y-axis to a log scale, you see that renewable energies had high growth rates in recent years in many countries (including NON-OECD countries like China and India). Will this exponential growth continue for a long while? Also that would be great news. However, if you take a look at Germany, which already has a relatively high share of renewable energy production, you see even a slight decrease from 2015 to 2016 (which was not a very windy year).

The data was collected from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017. I converted the data from several sheets of the large excel file into a format more amenable for data analysis. You can download the transformed data and take a look at the conversion script in R here:

You can find some more visualizations of energy and enviornmental data here:

Alternatively, if you want to learn about diverse economic data in quiz form, you can take a look at my data quiz:

But let me show you one more visualization that allows you to compare CO2 emissions and total energy usage for different world regions:

  • World wide CO2 emissions are steadily increasing even though growth has flatten from 2013 onwards. While there has been a small reduction in OECD countries, there has been substantial growth from Non-OECD countries.

  • Consisent with its development on coal consumption, China’s growth in CO2 emissions has been substantial. The increase between 2010 and 2010 exceeds the total emissions of the EU. However, China’s emissions have plateaued in 2013 and have slightly decreased since then. On a per capita basis, China’s emissions have plateaued on a level between Germany and France.

  • While still on a much smaller level (in particular on a per capita basis), also Indias CO2 emissions are quickly increasing. They almost doubled since 2000.
  • US per capita emissions are still far above the level of China or other European countries and similar results hold for energy consumption.
    • We see however a reduction of CO2 emissions in the US. One reason is the substitution of coal with gas, but also total primary energy consumption has gone down.
  • In the EU CO2 emissions are only slowly decreasing, with primary energy consumption beeing quite flat.
  • In Germany CO2 emission stagnated in the last 4 years, after a soft decline before.
    • In this period renewable energy production has steadily grown.
    • On the other hand, also electricity production by CO2 intensive coal has increased while less electricity has been produced from gas and nuclear energy.
  • It is also interesting to compare total primary energy usage per capita and tonnes CO2 emmission per tonne oil-equivalent of primary energy usage:
    • Germany and the US emmit almost the same amount of CO2 per unit energy, but the US has much larger energy usage per capita.
    • In contrast, Germany and France have relatively similar primary energy consumption per capita, but France uses substantially less carbon per energy unit.
    • While CO2 emissions per energy unit are recently slowly declining in both OECD and Non-OECD countries, primary energy consumption has quickly increased in Non-OECD countries, albeit, as we see for China and India, still on a much lower per capita level than in Germany, France or the US.
  • The CO2 emissions per $ of GDP are generally decreasing, but there are still substantial gaps between countries.

Published on 03 Apr 2018