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Page added on February 17, 2017

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Smart technology could deliver peak oil, coal and iron ore before 2035

Consumption

New report suggests rapid advances in data analytics and artificial intelligence could dramatically reshape energy and industrial sectors and save global economy up to $1.6tr

Rapid advances in smart technology could fundamentally reshape the global economy and spell an end to future growth in carbon intensive coal, oil, and iron ore consumption by 2035, according to a major new report from McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).

The paper, released today, suggests smart technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, data analytics, and the Internet of Things will transform the energy and resources sectors, saving the global economy between $900bn and $1.6tr by 2035 through reduced costs and productivity gains.

“Changes in the resource sector in the past often came about as a result of regulation, but now it is technology that is driving the shifts,” Jonathan Woetzel, director of the MGI, said in a statement. “Our new research shows that the global economy has a significant opportunity to make substantial savings on energy in the next two decades by adopting and embracing technological change.”

MGI – which is wholly funded by global management consultancy McKinsey & Company – mapped two scenarios for the future through to 2035. The first was for a ‘moderate’ technology adoption case, which assumes improved energy productivity delivered by the rollout of energy efficiency technologies and a continued fall in the cost of renewables. The second ‘tech acceleration’ scenario assumes a faster rate of technological adoption by consumers and producers. Under this latter scenario, demand for oil, thermal coal and iron ore could peak before 2035.

New technology is expected to significantly lower the energy intensity of the global economy and increase efficiency, according to MGI, potentially boosting energy productivity by 40 per cent under the moderate scenario or 70 per cent under the tech acceleration scenario.

Renewable energy is highlighted as one of the big winners, with solar and wind expected to play a “substantially larger” role in the energy mix than today thanks to their falling costs and increased competitiveness against fossil fuels.

MGI predicts renewables could grow from four per cent of power generation today to 36 per cent by 2035 under the tech acceleration scenario.

Smart technology to improve energy efficiency is also expected to have a major impact. MGI predicts oil demand from light vehicles will decline from 2015 levels thanks to increasing adoption of electric vehicles, saving between $150bn and $280bn by 2035, depending on the scenario.

The report follows a similar study from the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which earlier this month predicted that the rapid roll out of solar and electric vehicle technologies could lead to a peak in coal and oil demand as early as 2020.

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15 Comments on "Smart technology could deliver peak oil, coal and iron ore before 2035"

  1. makati1 on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 6:36 am 

    2035? How about what is going to happen tomorrow? No one knows. Only guesses.

    17 years in the future there may not be any humans left. It will certainly not be any world like today. Not even close. And certainly not concerned about any hydrocarbons still in the ground or techie junk. This is just more techie wet dreams to pacify the ignorant.

  2. John Kintree on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 7:08 am 

    Advances in automation and other technologies could also contribute to higher productivity and lower costs in fossil fuel extraction.

    Even with declining costs for solar and wind energy, we desperately need something like a carbon fee and dividend. If the carbon tax is revenue neutral, the money is distributed back to every household, it might stand a chance of passing in a Republican controlled Congress.

  3. Midnight Oil on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 7:09 am 

    Couldaa, wouldaa shouldaa.
    That will be on the epitaph of the gravestone of so called modern human civilization.
    Arrogant wasteful stupid and blind.
    But we know how to cut butter with a chainsaw!

  4. baha on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 7:11 am 

    makati you could be right…but there are only two choices. Plan to survive or plan to die…

  5. twocats on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 7:49 am 

    these “smart tech” fantasies tie in nicely with the ahmed article about neoliberal mythology of ever-improving global productive capacity. Its these lies that in-part fuel the right-wing resentment based backlash.

  6. Hubert on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 8:23 am 

    **COLOSSAL** “Sky River” to bring chaos to Cali! | Dams WILL be put to the test!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xa_GvUH_w8

  7. Antius on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 9:27 am 

    ‘Smart technology to improve energy efficiency is also expected to have a major impact. MGI predicts oil demand from light vehicles will decline from 2015 levels thanks to increasing adoption of electric vehicles, saving between $150bn and $280bn by 2035, depending on the scenario.’

    This reduces oil demand, by increasing electricity demand.

    None the less, a reduction in fossil fuel demand would be good news, if it happens. I read a report yesterday that attributes 5.5 million deaths per year to air pollution, some 200,000 annual deaths in the US due to coal based pollution. That’s a lot. It’s about the same health impact you would get if every nuclear reactor in the US melted down every single year without containment, spewing all its caesium into the atmosphere. That puts the toxicity of coal into perspective.

    Anything that can reduce coal burning has got to be considered a win.

  8. Antius on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 9:53 am 

    My mistake, the 200,000 deaths is due to all fossil fuel combustion, not just coal. Electricity production and industrial heat are major contributors, 26% and 20.4%, respectively. The biggest contribution comes from vehicle pollution, which contributes 26.3% to the total.

    http://lae.mit.edu/wordpress2/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/US-air-pollution-paper.pdf

    If the US were powered by nuclear electricity and severe core damage frequency for each reactor was 1 in 100,000 years, the pollution mortality due to radiation leaks would be at least 10,000 times lower than the mortality rate due to fossil fuel pollution. Renewables might do even better, if they avoid using fossil fuel as back-up power and if no one freezes to death as a result of not being able to afford to keep warm.

  9. penury on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 10:32 am 

    Science fiction was much better when I was younger. Remember? Heinlein, Asminov and other giants of the field. Their writings had more believable tripe than this. When all you have is a dream, you can project what ever future you desire. Too bad its all a dream.

  10. Ghung on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 10:52 am 

    “Science fiction was much better when I was younger. Remember? Heinlein, Asminov and other giants of the field. Their writings had more believable tripe than this.”

    Running out of ideas, just like musicians, politicians, central bankers, economists, the oil patch……….

    Peak ideas.

  11. Apneaman on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 11:06 am 

    When Climate Change Starts Wars

    Rising temperatures are bringing ethnic tensions to a boil in Central Asia.

    “As the region heats up, it faces increasing political instability and violence.

    This is particularly so in the vast Fergana Valley. Its tangled knot of borders, ethnicities, water rights, decreasing resources, and increasing temperatures makes it a crucible of global warming and human conflict—a place where geography, climate, and politics collide. Indeed, historically violent ethnic divides and regular disputes over natural resources make armed conflict as a result of climate change more likely in this region, one that has already seen hundreds killed in two pogroms over the past 27 years, in part fueled by fights over territory and water.”

    http://nautil.us/issue/45/power/when-climate-change-starts-wars

  12. Apneaman on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 11:11 am 

    Better get that wall built lickety split.

    Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis

    Climate change is threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point.

    “Mexico City, a mile and a half above sea level, was sinking, collapsing in on itself.

    It still is, faster and faster, and the canal is just one victim of what has become a vicious cycle. Always short of water, Mexico City keeps drilling deeper for more, weakening the ancient clay lake beds on which the Aztecs first built much of the city, causing it to crumble even further.”

    “One study predicts that 10 percent of Mexicans ages 15 to 65 could eventually try to emigrate north as a result of rising temperatures, drought and floods, potentially scattering millions of people and heightening already extreme political tensions over immigration.

    The effects of climate change are varied and opportunistic, but one thing is consistent: They are like sparks in the tinder. They expose cities’ biggest vulnerabilities, inflaming troubles that politicians and city planners often ignore or try to paper over. And they spread outward, defying borders.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/17/world/americas/mexico-city-sinking.html?_r=0

  13. Apneaman on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 11:18 am 

    Climate Change Is Transforming the World’s Food Supply

    http://www.livescience.com/57921-climate-change-is-transforming-global-food-supply.html

  14. Cloggie on Fri, 17th Feb 2017 11:37 am 

    One study predicts that 10 percent of Mexicans ages 15 to 65 could eventually try to emigrate north as a result of rising temperatures, drought and floods, potentially scattering millions of people and heightening already extreme political tensions over immigration.

    It is time to open an air bridge between Mexico and Canada. It is the second largest country in the world, as good as empty and the people who live there opine that nobody owns Canada. Furthermore it is not too hot and rapidly greening due to atmospheric CO2 increase. Canada is three times the size of India, where 1.5 billion live. So in Canada there is room for 4.5 billion people.

    What’s not to like, everybody happy.

  15. Cloggie on Sun, 19th Feb 2017 6:11 am 

    Renault and Open present their new affordable (33k euro) e-cars with 400 km and 500 km range resp.:

    http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/opel-und-renault-was-die-neuen-elektroautos-taugen-a-1135158.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_Zoe

    https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opel_Ampera-e

    Both 100% electric.

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