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Global demand for fossil fuels will peak in 2023


Global demand for fossil fuels will peak in 2023, an influential thinktank has predicted, posing a significant risk to financial markets because trillions of dollars’ worth of oil, coal and gas assets could be left worthless.

Explosive growth in wind and solar will combine with action on climate change and slowing growth in energy needs to ensure that fossil fuel demand peaks in the 2020s, Carbon Tracker predicted.

The projection is much more bullish than estimates by the global energy watchdog and oil and gas companies, which mostly expect demand to peak in the mid-2030s. Coal reached its peak in 2014.

Kingsmill Bond, new energy strategist at Carbon Tracker, said: “Fossil fuel demand has been growing for 200 years, but is about to enter structural decline. Entire sectors will struggle to make this transition.”

The group, which popularised the notion of a carbon bubble – where fossil fuel assets lose their value in the switch to a low-carbon economy – said the findings spelled disruption for energy firms.

The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has already warned that markets face a “huge hit” from the transition.

Carbon Tracker said financial markets faced a “systemic risk” from a reduction in value to the fossil fuel industry’s $25tn (£19tn) worth of assets, due to demand peaking.

Countries such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, which are overwhelmingly reliant on oil revenues, are also at risk from a fall in their tax take, the thinktank added.

Oil and gas firms have rejected the idea that their assets are at risk, because their reserves do not remain underground for very long. BP said earlier this year that it pumps its entire hydrocarbon reserves about every 13 years. Others simply dismiss the idea that a peak is coming any time soon, with ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest international oil company, projecting growth to 2040 as the world continues to rely on oil for heavy vehicles, shipping and aviation.

The Carbon Tracker report warned incumbency and size would be no protection, and compared the fate of fossil fuel firms to the horse and cart at the start of the 20th century.

“Demand for incumbents peaks early, and investors in incumbents lose money early,” it said.

The first two decades of this century were the innovation period for renewables, the authors said, while the “endgame” for fossil fuels – when renewables overtake them – would come from 2050 onwards.

The group’s early peak in 2023 is due partly to bullish estimates of levels of electrification, such as transport switching from oil to batteries and electricity.

Falling wind and solar costs would lead to some emerging countries “leapfrogging” fossil fuels and opting for renewables to meet most of their growing energy needs, the thinktank said.

The group did not look at the likelihood or impact of the Paris climate agreement being weakened by other countries following the US and quitting, as one Brazilian presidential candidate has threatened.

However, Sebastian Ljungwaldh, an energy analyst at Carbon Tracker, said: “If more and more countries start to take Paris less seriously, that will have some effect on how quickly the energy transition happens.”



18 Comments on "Global demand for fossil fuels will peak in 2023"

  1. rockman on Tue, 11th Sep 2018 1:26 pm 

    That prediction is based upon a series of assumptions that cannot be proven. The prediction may or may not be correct. As only time will tell I see little point in debating the issue. Each side will make assumptions (all of which are unprovable) to support their position.

    Have at it. LOL.

  2. Theedrich on Tue, 11th Sep 2018 4:01 pm 

    Plastics have now doomed mankind by sterilization.   As reported in detail by Daniel Noah Halpern in his GQ article, “Sperm Count Zero” (at, it has now been scientifically ascertained that a drastic and unstoppable decline in male sperm counts everywhere portends the annihilation of homo sapiens within this century.  This is the most alarming fact to be revealed in all history;  due to testosterone-damaging plastics, sperm counts worldwide, but especially in the “modernized” industrial West and its manufacturing tributaries, have fallen off a cliff in the last few decades.  (Insufficient data is available from the non-West, but partial studies and extrapolation lead to the same conclusion.)  And of course, plastics are derived largely from fossil fuels, especially oil.

    Not only are males becoming sexually impotent, they are also becoming less male and more female.  This is because the base, or “default,” body plan of all life forms propagated by sex is female.  Males develop from this base form through testosterone in utero, and the chemicals in plastics deform and disable the critical molecular structures in that hormone.

    This is the true reason why heavily “plasticized” societies in particular have become internally more peaceful and why violent crime (normally by males) has declined in them.  Their increasingly defective biology is making them more effeminate.  Hence, for instance, the greater legal and social acceptance of male cornholing as “marriage” in the U.S.  Typically feminine characteristics such as female loquacity, tendency to avoid hard decisions whenever possible, and general emotionalism have become more prominent in contrast with biologically less toxic times.  Cultures less polluted by plastics (e.g., black Africa, Afghanistan) are more male and hence more violent.  But they too are becoming increasingly affected by the planetary spread of plastics, which “improve” life while ending it.  While Western politicians hail the rise of women and subtly denigrate masculinity, the secret doom of barrenness and childlessness is spreading over the earth.

    Ignoring this global fate, the U.S. and its countless “democratic” followers continue to follow the path of sterilization leading to phyletic de-masculinization, to childlessness, and thence to extinction.  Yet there is no chance that the world will give up plastics.  For the subconscious thanatos drive of our species has only one aim:  𝖉𝖊𝖆𝖙𝖍.

  3. twocats on Tue, 11th Sep 2018 5:47 pm 

    The guy’s name is Kingsmill Bond. I sense the Yes Men. Anyway, Venezuela isn’t going to have a risk in “tax take” from peak demand”. they are literally collapsing at this moment. when was this written? and also, they cite peak coal as evidence for peak demand but coal was primarily replaced with an overabundance of natural gas from an overabundance of fracking.

  4. Senecca on Tue, 11th Sep 2018 6:08 pm 

    Demand for fossil fuels will never peak. But supply will.

  5. GetAVasectomyAndLetTheHumanSpecieDie on Tue, 11th Sep 2018 9:02 pm 

    I agree with Theedrich regarding feminine male.

    Like I said there is no future for the human specie. It is done and finished.

    Don’t have kids because you will only see the suffering.

    This Asia women has noticed this trends in men feminization

    She describe Canadian men as followed:

    Unfortunately there is a subset of men in Canada that actually really likes the fact that it’s a matriarchy because they actually want to be the ones to stay at home to cook and clean, go to the salon and go on shopping sprees..

  6. Cloggie on Wed, 12th Sep 2018 10:50 am 

    Maybe 2023, maybe 2027, maybe 2030, but the prospect of peak fossil demand within a decade is entirely realistic:

    I stopped worrying about energy shortages years ago. Now the energy “problem cluster” has morphed into a Cockaigne for techies, not unlike the situation in the eighties and nineties with the rise of IT and internet.

    The possibilities are endless and the sky is the limit.

    “Peak oil”, one giant yawn.

  7. makati1 on Thu, 13th Sep 2018 7:21 pm 

    Wild guesses, no facts. Typical oily numbers.

  8. jawagord on Thu, 13th Sep 2018 11:40 pm 

    Influential Think Tank?? World population is growing by 80+ million people per year. In 2023 there will be 400 million more people on earth than today and fossil fuel use is going to peak?!! German wind subsidies are starting to end in 2020 and with it comes a peak in Teutonic wind power, nuclear power plants are being decommissioned in Europe and America, what’s going to power the world – coal, gas, oil.

  9. makati1 on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 12:12 am 

    jawagord, it may peak because demand will fall due to inability to purchase. The US especially will have declining use as more and more cannot afford it or the vehicles that burn it because of the contracting economy and the growing poverty there.

    It’s ALL about $$$, not how much oil is left to burn. But, true, I do not see oil use decline globally.

  10. marmico on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 7:03 am 

    The US especially will have declining use as more and more cannot afford it or the vehicles that burn it because of the contracting economy and the growing poverty there.

    More retardeness from the recipient of the peen lady boy $5 USD cock suckers.

    How is that $1200 USD social security check working out? Why that’s 240 blow jobs per month, you sexual deviant.

    And exactly what is the ratio between domestic and imported energy consumption in the peens?

    Why, the peen imports 93% of its oil consumption.

    You are a retard. And I’m coming after you.

  11. MASTERMIND on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 7:35 am 


    Financial catastrophe resulting from resource depletion and a debasement of value of fiat currencies. Then a 12-month window of tyranny and government lockdown on citizens, followed by a 6-month window of absolute carnage and death. Then, a period of about 6 months of slow die-off and that’s pretty much that. Oh, and starting sometime within the next 5 years or so…

  12. MASTERMIND on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 8:24 am 

    Nike stock closes at all-time high in aftermath of Colin Kaepernick ad campaign

    Looks like going after the old angry white guy works!!

    Die white devil! Die!

  13. Davy on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 8:30 am 

    boymind, why can’t you do a proper comment with title, link, and content? Is it because your fake online PHD course left you unprepared? Could it be you do not understand the content but the title sounds great for your ugly agenda?

  14. Cloggie on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 8:55 am 

    Nike is now worldwide a darkie brand and there are ever more datkies with a dime to spend.

    “Die white devil! Die!”

    That’s exactly what “white devils” in Eurasia want you to say, millikike. Won’t be long until North-American whitey will be begging for help from the 700 million whites from Eurasia. And we of course will provide that help, once we have ensured that any notion of exceptionialism will have evaporated from white American brains and they are ready for a junior role within a global European framework (“Eurosphere”).

    North-American darkies should consider their Nikes as precious commodities as they will need them to run away fast from Eurasians and their terrible weapons.


  15. MASTERMIND on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 9:02 am 


    There is no Eurasia..And the collapse of the global economy has already started.

    Get a grip old man!

  16. Cloggie on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 9:26 am 

    “There is no Eurasia.”

    Millimind, I know that most Americans couldn’t find Eurasia on a map. But you denying its existence is pushing titanic stupidity into new realms.

    Now let me guess…. you can’t dance either, eh?

  17. MASTERMIND on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 9:28 am 

    Driverless Hype Collides With Merciless Reality

    The bubble around self-driving cars turns into a ‘trough of disillusionment’; firms refactor for much later arrival

    Mercedes-Benz unveiled its dream of a fully autonomous multipurpose vehicle this week. The announcement was full of buzzwords—the modular Vision Urbanetic “enables on-demand, sustainable and efficient movement of people and goods” and “reduces traffic flows, relieves inner-city infrastructures and contributes to an improved quality of urban life.”

    Hardly a week goes by without fresh signposts that our self-driving future is just around the corner. Only it’s probably not. It will likely take decades to come to fruition. (Even a car like this Mercedes is more a sketch of what’s to come than an actual blueprint.) And many of the companies that built their paper fortunes on the idea we’d get there soon are already adjusting their strategies to fit this reality.

    Uber, for example, recently closed its self-driving truck project, and suspended road testing self-driving cars after one of its vehicles killed a pedestrian. Uber’s chief executive even announced he would be open to partnering with its biggest competitor in self-driving tech, Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo. Meanwhile, Waymo CEO John Krafcik recently said it will be “longer than you think” for self-driving vehicles to be everywhere.

    “Self-driving technology has the potential to make our roads safer and cities more livable, but it will take a lot of hard work, and time, to get there,” says an Uber spokeswoman.

    In the past two years, Tesla CEO Elon Musk planned, then scrapped a coast-to-coast autonomous road trip. And Lyft CEO John Zimmer’s 2016 prediction that self-driving cars would “all but end” car ownership by 2025 now seems borderline ridiculous.

    There are many reasons the self-driving tech industry has suddenly found itself in this “trough of disillusionment,” and chief among them is the technology. We don’t yet know how to pull off a computer driver that can perform as well or better than a human under all conditions.

    It turns out that the human ability to build mental models isn’t something that current AI can just learn, no matter how much data it’s fed. And even once we have the technology, we’ll still have to deal with all those unpredictable humans in cars, on bikes and scooters, and on foot. The more self-driving vehicles hit the road, the more pressing the safety concerns and legal and regulatory issues will become.

    This means worries—mainly in academic circles—that America’s truck drivers will face “eroding job quality” because of autonomy are premature. It means cities don’t yet need to wonder what will become of their mass transit. And it means Uber and Lyft aren’t likely to ditch human drivers soon, and their investors should value them accordingly.

    In the meantime, we’ll have to adjust to the reality that autonomous driving could be headed for narrower—but still transformative—applications. And if our desire for driverless taxis and delivery vans is strong enough, we might need to create dedicated roads for them.

    Cars can’t learn to drive simply by being trained on data about how real humans do it, no matter how much data you have, says Gary Marcus, New York University professor and former head of Uber’s AI division. “That’s why companies like Waymo have to break [self driving] into pieces that can be engineered rather than treating it like one giant data problem,” he adds.

    In Chandler, Ariz., Waymo actually set up a self-driving car service. It deserves credit for solving an enormously difficult problem—creating a driverless, fully autonomous taxi service. But the company accomplished this in part by carefully constraining the circumstances under which their vehicles drive.

    The service only operates in an area the team has thoroughly mapped. Chandler is “well laid out and has modern roads and conditions,” says Nathaniel Fairfield, principal software engineer at Waymo.

    Self-driving cars generally rely on the lidar detection system, whose lasers can be foiled by inclement weather. “It doesn’t rain a whole lot there and there’s no snow,” Mr. Fairfield says. Chandler also has less than 4,000 people per square mile, making it about 1/20th as dense as Manhattan.

    Mr. Fairfield notes that Waymo is also constantly training its vehicles under far more difficult conditions. But this tells us nothing about when self-driving technology will come to places with actual seasons, less-than-perfect roads or higher population density.

    Over a lifetime of driving, humans become expert at countless subtasks, from noticing distracted pedestrians to questioning the judgment of construction workers waving them through a work site. While much has been made of the total number of miles that various self-driving systems have racked up, conquering these little annoyances actually requires an enormous amount of intellectual labor by many teams of engineers.

    While auto makers and investors are pouring huge sums into this field, competition is likely to remain thin until this results in another Waymo’s worth of effort on the technology. Waymo has been at it since 2009, with some of the best-compensated engineers on earth.

    Even when (or if) we get a working, go-anywhere self-driving system, we would face myriad legal and behavioral challenges, says Meredith Broussard, author of “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.”

    When a Tesla slammed into the back of a stopped firetruck at 60 miles an hour, the driver sued the auto maker, claiming the company misrepresented the capability of its Autopilot software. Who is liable when a self-driving car gets into an accident? We have yet to resolve the issue, which could lead to a sea change in how we insure vehicles.

    It’s also not true that we must transition to self-driving cars because human-piloted ones are so lethal, Prof. Broussard says. Countless innovations have made cars radically safer since the 1950s and continue to do so. Meanwhile, new distractions, such as smartphones, can be addressed more cheaply, without resorting to full autonomy.

    Our love affair with self-driving cars is a form of “techno-chauvinism,” Prof. Broussard says. “It’s the idea that technology is always the highest and best solution, and is superior to the people-based solution.”

    While we work all of that out, we’ll also need to start spending big money refashioning our cities, bike lanes and sidewalks so that they are friendlier to self-driving vehicles. This would have to coincide with the rollout of widespread and robust 5G wireless internet that could power a massive vehicle-to-vehicle communications infrastructure. If every car driven by every human was tracked, along with every autonomous vehicle, then perhaps humans and machines could share the road.

    After all, it’s not keeping to a lane that’s hard. It’s predicting what all those capricious and distracted human drivers around you might do next. That’s what keeps the computer programmers up at night.

  18. Cloggie on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 9:48 am 

    One of my first professional IT contracts in my career was in 1988 with ECT-Rotterdam (Europe Container Terminals), a project unique in the world. The challenge was to make the handling of containers fully automatic from ship to stack to truck/train. The containers were driven from ship to stack with AGVs (“driverless cars”). They never abandoned the concept. Here the video:

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