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Page added on December 7, 2013

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Growing population and economies will outpace energy efficiencies

Consumption

The world is becoming more energy efficient, but growing economies and an increasing world population will drive more energy demand for decades, an industry expert said Saturday.

This growth largely will come from emerging economies, where the average gross domestic product is expected to grow 2.8 percent annually for years, said David Khemakhem, an energy and technology advisor for Exxon Mobil, speaking to a luncheon audience at the IIT 2013 Global Conference in Houston.

“The GDP is a good indicator of the growth you will see,” Khemakhem said, discussing the results of Exxon’s 2013 Outlook for Energy.

But the pressures of population — which is expected to grow to more than nine billion by 2040 — and economic growth is partially mitigated by lower energy demand per capita, due to energy efficiencies in everything from light bulbs to the electric grid.

“A substantial amount of energy got saved because of these improvements,” Khemakhem said, noting that the savings have taken place both in Western countries and in emerging economies.

David Khemakhem, energy and technology advisor for ExxonMobil, speaks to a luncheon audience at the IIT 2013 Global Conference in Houston. (Emily Pickrell/Houston Chronicle)

The percentage of households located in urban environments also is increasing in emerging economies, which drives a different kind of energy consumption, Khemakhem said.

For example, the number of households in Africa is expected to grow by 70 percent, as the population shifts from larger family structures to more individual family households, Khemakhem said. He noted that India will require more than twice its current level of energy by 2040.

Energy imports will be needed to meet some of the increased demand, Khemakhem said, noting that Asia likely will need to import more than 70 percent of its oil by 2040, up from 45 percent currently.

North America, by contrast, has benefited from hydrocarbons discovered in unconventional plays, and is expected to meet its own energy demands by 2040.

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5 Comments on "Growing population and economies will outpace energy efficiencies"

  1. J-Gav on Sun, 8th Dec 2013 12:08 am 

    The title sounds promising but then comes: “North America … is expected to meet its own energy demands by 2040.” LOL

  2. yellowcanoe on Sun, 8th Dec 2013 12:08 am 

    Another example would be air pollution in California. Considerable efforts were made in that state starting in the 50’s to reduce the amount of air pollution but those efforts have been to a large extent negated by the tremendous growth in population over the same time period.

  3. BillT on Sun, 8th Dec 2013 1:49 am 

    Growth is a problem, but the Western lifestyle is the real killer. Greed by the ‘haves’ is killing the planet, not the numbers of people living on it. As I stated in my comment on the “AT Seven Billion…” post.

    The race is on to see if the Western economy crashes first or there is a world war, or both. When the Western economy crashes , the First World will be in Intensive Care from massive systems failures. The Third World will be bruised and battered, but will recover fastest and many of them will not even notice the difference, or that it even happened.

  4. rollin on Sun, 8th Dec 2013 2:01 am 

    Growing population will have little effect on energy consumption, because there won’t be the extra energy to go around. They will have to live simpler.

    That’s right, the US will meet it’s own energy demands in 2040, because it won’t have much choice. Hardly anyone will be exporting energy.

    The big exporting nations will wish they saved some for themselves. Money does not equal energy and overpopulation with over-consumption does not make a for a good future when the energy starts to run low.

    As far as the African nations are concerned, they have more problems than they can deal with now. Energy shifts will just add to those problems.

  5. DC on Sun, 8th Dec 2013 3:14 am 

    Q/Growing population and economies will outpace energy efficiencies.

    This is a strange statement. It implies that at some point in the past, efficiencies grew faster than the size of economy. In fact, this has never happened. ‘Growth’ rates (love that word eh?), has always exceeded ‘efficiency gains’. Even efficiency gains are misleading. Most of the gains in the ‘west’ have been due to shedding heavy and medium industry to Asia and the third world. It is easy to pretend your economy is becoming more ‘efficient’ when you replacing a real economy, with a Wall St./real estate/service economy.

    We can clearly see that economies that are consumption based can never be ‘efficient’, only slightly less wasteful. Saving resources implies less waste, and in a waste-addicted economy, to save resources, whatever they are, equals recession and less profits for the elites.

    Waste is good.
    Efficiency? Not as good.

    Do the Maths Tom Murphy talks directly about this here:

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/can-economic-growth-last/

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