- Between 1980 and 2001, the world’s electricity consumption expanded an average of 3.0% per year, resulting in an overall increase of 88%. Real GDP (adjusted for inflation) grew at the same rate during the period.
- World energy consumption grew more slowly (1.7% per year) than real GDP between 1980 and 2001, reflecting improvements in energy efficiency as well as a shift towards less energy-intensive industries in many countries.
- Increased use of non-carbon-emitting energy sources, such as nuclear and hydroelectric power, helped limit growth in world carbon dioxide emissions to 1.2% per year, significantly lower than the growth in energy consumption between 1980 and 2001.
- The world’s population expanded an average 1.6% per year between 1980 and 2001. During this period, per capita income levels rose, per capita energy consumption levels stayed nearly constant, and per capita carbon dioxide emissions declined.
Developmental Trends: OECD vs. Non-OECD
- All of the indicators examined here rose more rapidly (on average, more than twice as fast) in the non-OECD than in the OECD between 1980 and 2001.
- In both regions, real GDP and electricity consumption grew the fastest of all the indicators during t his period. In the OECD, they increased 2.6% and 2.5% per year, which was much faster energy consumption (1.2%), carbon dioxide emissions (0.7%), and population (0.7%). In the non-OECD, real GDP and electricity consumption rose 3.5% and 3.8% per year, respectively. Energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and population grew at the comparatively slow rates of 2.3%, 1.8%, and 1.7%.
- Carbon dioxide emissions in both the OECD and non-OECD grew more slowly than energy consumption between 1980 and 2001. This was a result of an increase in the share of nuclear and hydroelectric power, an overall trend away from energy intensive industries, and a shift towards less carbon intensive fossil fuels (e.g., natural gas as opposed to coal).
- Population grew twice as rapidly in the non-OECD as in the OECD between 1980 and 2001.
Changing Fuel Usage
- Excluding non-commercial energy, fossil fuels accounted for the vast majority of world energy consumed between 1980 and 2001, although the fossil fuel share declined over time. In the OECD, fossil fuel’s share fell from an 88% share of energy consumption in 1980 to 82% in 2001. In the non-OECD, fossil fuel’s share fell from 93% to 89% during that period.
- In both OECD and non-OECD countries, the shares of oil and coal declined between 1980 and 2001, while the share of natural gas grew. Oil’s share fell mainly during the early 1980s, after the Iranian Revolution and subsequent oil shock. Since the mid-1980s, oil’s share has essentially stabilized or even grown slightly. Oil remains the world’s largest source of commercial energy.
- In the non-OECD countries, nuclear and hydroelectric power increased their combined share of total energy consumption, from 7% in 1980 to 10% in 2001. In the OECD, the combined share of hydroelectric and nuclear energy increased from 11% to 16%. Nuclear power accounted for most of this growth.
- In the OECD countries, non-hydroelectric renewable commercial energy sources (e.g. solar, wind, biomass) accounted for an increasingly large share of energy consumption between 1980 and 2001. Even with this growth, however, these energy sources comprised only 1% of total OECD energy consumption in 2001.
Per Capita and Hypothetical Fossil Fuel Consumption
- Per capita use of fossil fuels remained about flat between 1980 and 2001 in both the OECD and the non-OECD. After declining in the OECD during the early 1980s as a result of the oil price shocks of the 1970s, per capita fossil fuel usage returned to its initial level.
- Per capita consumption of fossil fuels in the non-OECD was significantly lower than in the OECD between 1980 and 2001. For example, in 2001, per capita consumption in the OECD was 450% higher than in the non-OECD. The G-7 highly industrialized countries consumed even more fossil fuels per person than the rest of the OECD.
- If the entire world consumed fossil fuels at OECD per capita rates, global fossil energy consumption would be over 1,100 quads in 2001, more than three times the actual level of around 350 quads. If the rest of the world consumed fossil fuels at G-7 rates, global fossil fuel consumption would reach 1,300 quads.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions Overview
- World carbon dioxide emissions grew at an average annual rate of 1.2% between 1980 and 2001, from 18,651 MMT to 24,082 MMT. During this period, the average annual growth rate of OECD and non-OECD carbon dioxide emissions was 0.7% and 1.8%, respectively.
- Total OECD carbon dioxide emissions increased from 10,202 MMT in 1980 to 11,690 MMT in 2001. Non-OECD emissions increased from 8,448 MMT in 1980 to 12,392 MMT in 2001.
- The non-OECD countries began emitting more carbon than the OECD in 1985. Since then, the non-OECD has emitted consistently more carbon than the OECD despite a sharp decline in the EE&FSU region during the early- and mid-1990s.
- Carbon dioxide emissions in the EE&FSU region fell sharply following the collapse of communism in the early 1990s, but then leveled off by the mid- and late-1990s.
- During the 1980s and 1990s, the engine behind much of the increase in non-OECD carbon dioxide emissions was Developing Asia, especially China and India. Between 1980 and 2001, Developing Asia’s emissions more than doubled, from less than 2,400 MMT to almost 6,030 MMT.
- The increase in Developing Asia’s carbon dioxide emissions between 1980 and 2001 was driven by rapid industrialization, growth in automobile ownership, and electrification.
- Developing Asia’s emissions fell following the economic crisis that hit the region in the late 1990s, but began to rise once again in 2001.
Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions
- Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the per capita carbon dioxide emissions rate in the OECD remained about five times greater than in the non-OECD. It was even higher in the G-7 countries.
- The OECD’s per capita carbon dioxide emissions rate fell in the early 1980s, but overall changed little between 1980 and 2001. In 2001, the OECD emitted 12.2 metric tons of carbon per person. Non-OECD per capita carbon dioxide emissions rose slightly over the time period, reaching 2.4 metric tons per person in 2001.
- Non-OECD per capita carbon dioxide emissions were relatively constant between 1980 and 2001, with a sharp decline in EE&FSU per capita carbon dioxide emissions during the 1990s offsetting an increase in the rest of the non-OECD.
- Within the OECD, although overall energy consumption increased from 1980 to 2001, the share of carbon intensive fuels declined, largely balancing each other out.
- If the entire world emitted carbon at OECD per capita levels, total carbon emission would be over three times greater than they actually are. If the entire world emitted carbon at G-7 per capita levels, total carbon dioxide emissions in 2001 would have been 3.5 times greater than they were. By contrast, if the entire world emitted carbon dioxide at non-OECD per capita levels, 2001 carbon dioxide emissions would have been only 60% of their actual level.
World and Regional Carbon Dioxide Intensity
- Between 1980 and 2001, world carbon dioxide intensity declined at an average annual rate of 1.7%, from 0.82 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP to 0.57 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP.
- During this period, the OECD’s carbon dioxide intensity fell by one third, from 0.76 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP in 1980 to 0.51 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP in 2001. The OECD’s carbon dioxide intensity fell more than twice as rapidly between 1980 and 1985 (3.5% per year) as it did thereafter (1.5%). This suggests the impact of the extreme oil price volatility seen during this period.
- By contrast, carbon dioxide intensity in the non-OECD declined rapidly during the 1990s after remaining constant for much of the 1980s. It fell from 0.90 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP in 1990 to 0.24 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP in 2001. This occurred because the impact of oil prices was overwhelmed by other factors like China’s industrial maturation and the massive changes occurring in the EE&FSU region.
- Carbon dioxide intensity in the MENA region grew an average of 3.2% during the 1980s, following the oil price spikes of the 1970s, before leveling off in the 1990s. Latin America experienced almost no change in carbon dioxide intensity between 1980 and 2001. This reflects the more rapid growth of relatively non-carbon intensive natural gas and non-carbon hydroelectric energy over the period.
- The EE&FSU region became more carbon dioxide intensive in the early 1990s. Once economic growth returned in the mid-1990s, carbon dioxide intensity began to decline. Between 1993 and 2001, the region’s carbon dioxide intensity fell from 1.64 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP to 1.27 metric tons per thousand $1995-PPP. See EE&FSU section below for further discussion.
GDP Growth Trends
- Between 1980 and 2001, the OECD countries’ combined real GDP grew from $13.4 trillion to $23.1 trillion, reflecting an average annual growth rate of 2.6%. The non-OECD countries’ real GDP expanded from $9.4 trillion $19.3 trillion, a rate of 3.5% per year.
- Developing Asia experienced extremely rapid real GDP growth between 1980 and 2001, far outpacing he rest of the developing world. During these years, Developing Asia’s GDP nearly quadrupled, from $2.8 trillion to $11.1 trillion. This translates into an average annual growth rate of 6.8%.
- With the exception of Developing Asia, the non-OECD grew poorer relative to the developed world during the 1980s and 1990s. Real GDP actually fell in the EE&FSU region, while increasing very slowly in MENA, Africa, and Latin America.
- The collapse of the Soviet Union and the other communist governments in the late 1980s and early 1990s severely disrupted economies in the EE&FSU. For the region as a whole, economic growth did not return until the mid-to late-1990s.
Regional GDP per Capita
- Between 1980 and 2001, the OECD’s real GDP per capita grew at an average annual rate of 1.9%, increasing from $16,200 to $24,100. The non-OECD countries real GDP per capita increased by 2% per year, from $2,600 to $3,700. During the period, the gap between OECD and non-OECD real incomes widened from $13,600 to $20,400.
- Between 1980 and 2001, the average annual changes in per capita income in the EE&FSU, Africa, MENA, and Latin America were –1.0%, -0.5%, -0.3%, and 0.2%, respectively. Only Developing Asia experienced more rapid per capita GDP growth (5% per year) than did the OECD between 1980 and 2001.
Economic Development and Energy Usage
- World energy consumption increased from 285 quads in 1980 to 404 quads in 2001. This represented a 1.7% annual growth rate during the period.
- Between 1980 and 2001, the OECD countries consistently held a larger share of world energy consumption than the non-OECD, although the gap has narrowed considerably since 1980.
- The OECD’s total energy consumption grew from 166 quads in 1980 to 211 quads in 2001, a 1.2% annual rate of increase. Energy consumption in the non-OECD grew at a rate of 2.3% per year, from 119 quads in 1980 to 192 quads in 2001.
- Most of the increase in non-OECD energy consumption relative to the OECD took place in the 1980s. This reflected very rapid (1.9%) annual growth in the EE&FSU region during that period. During the early- and mid-1990s, the EE&FSU region’s rate of energy consumption declined significantly, and non-OECD energy consumption grew at roughly the same pace as in the OECD.
- The oil shocks of the 1970s caused an absolute decline in energy consumption in the OECD in the early 1980s. After oil prices collapsed in late 1985 and early 1986, energy consumption in the developed countries rose steadily until 2000 and 2001. At that time, demand growth paused as the world economy entered a recession.
Regional Variation in Energy Consumption
- Driven by rapid economic growth, Developing Asia’s energy demand increased at a rapid annual rate of 5% during the 1980s and 1990s, nearly tripling from 30 quads to 85 quads.
- Energy consumption in most non-OECD regions increased more rapidly than in the OECD between 1980 and 2001. In the EE&FSU region, energy consumption fell an average of 0.8% between 1980 and 2001, from 63 quads to 53 quads. This understates the severity of the decline, because consumption actually grew until 1989. Then, between 1989 and 1998, the EE&FSU region’s energy demand declined an average of 4.6% per year.
- Energy consumption in the MENA region grew at an extremely rapid 5.1% annual rate between 1980 and 2001, almost tripling from 9 quads to 25 quads. This growth was driven by population and economic growth, combined with development of energy intensive industries like petrochemicals and oil refining.
Development and Energy Intensity
- The world’s energy intensity declined an average of 1.3% per year between 1980 and 2001, from 12,538 Btu per $1995-PPP to 9,532 Btu per $1995-PPP. This change reflects reductions in both the OECD and non-OECD.
- Between 1980 and 2001, the OECD nations’ energy intensity declined 1.4% per year, from 12,443 Btu per $1995-PPP to 9,165 Btu per $1995-PPP. While energy intensity in the developed countries fell throughout the period, it fell significantly more rapidly in the early and mid 1980s (2.3% per year) than it did following the decline of oil prices in 1985 – 1986 (1.1% per year).
- The reduction in OECD energy intensity stemmed from gains in energy efficiency combined with shifts in economic structure. Energy intensive industries within many developed economies declined relative to the less energy-intensive service sector. Simultaneously, the manufacturing mix in the OECD shifted towards less energy-intensive products. Many of the most-intensive processes (e.g., steel, automobiles, mining) shifted overseas, to non-OECD countries in particular.
- Between 1980 and 2001, the non-OECD countries’ energy intensity declined 1.1% per year, from 12,674 Btu per $1995-PPP to 9,972 Btu per $1995-PPP. In the developing world, energy intensity declines stemmed from a combination of energy efficiency gains and structural shifts. Similar to carbon dioxide intensity, the bulk of the reduction in non-OECD energy intensity took place in the 1990s. The reasons for this pattern are the same as those described above for carbon intensity.
Regional Energy Intensity Trends
- Between 1980 and 2001, Developing Asia drastically reduced its energy intensity, from around 10,864 Btu per $1995-PPP to roughly 7,681 Btu per $1995-PPP, an average annual decline of 1.6%. The other non-OECD regions actually grew more energy intensive over the period. Developing Asia accounted for a disproportionate share of non-OECD energy consumption, resulting in a decline in overall non-OECD energy intensity.
- For China, Developing Asia’s largest energy consumer, the reduction in energy intensity has been attributed much more to improving technical efficiency than to changes in economic structure. 
- Between 1980 and 2001, the MENA region’s energy intensity grew an average of 2.7% per year, from 7,723 Btu per $1995-PPP to 13,385 Btu per $1995-PPP. This reflects the steady growth in energy demand created by the region’s rapidly growing population and energy-intensive industrialization, as well as government policies to keep energy prices low.
Growth in Vehicle Penetration in Selected Countries
- Between 1980 and 2001, one of the most important contributors to the growth in energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions was motor vehicle ownership.
- Of the four years examined, the United States was the leader in sales per capita among the nations surveyed in all but one. At the height of its economic boom in 1990, Japan had more domestic car sales per thousand people than anywhere else in the world.
- Though motor vehicle sales per capita remain low in China and India compared to OECD countries, they have risen dramatically since 1980. As a result, more cars were sold in China in 2001 than in four of seven G-7 countries. This has large implications for world energy use and carbon dioxide emissions trends.
Electricity Consumption Overview
- Between 1980 and 2001, world electricity consumption increased 88%, an average of 3.0% per year, from 7,417 billion kilowatt-hours (bkwh) to 13,934 bkwh. Electricity demand grew relatively faster in the non-OECD than in OECD.
- During the 1980s and 1990s, electricity consumption grew at an annual rate of 3.8% in the non-OECD, from less than 2,700 bkwh to over 5,900 bkwh. In the OECD, demand grew an average of 2.5% per year, rising from 4,730 bkwh to 8,016 bkwh.
- Much of the increased electricity consumption in the non-OECD took place in Developing Asia. Between 1980 and 2001, demand for electricity in the region grew 7.7% per year, rising from less than 600 bkwh to more than 2,700 bkwh.
- The MENA region’s electricity consumption grew at the same rapid rate as Developing Asia’s between 1980 and 2001, though it started the period at a much lower base. In large part, the region’s rapid growth reflected efforts to provide electricity to its rapidly growing population.
Electricity Consumption Per Capita
- Though electricity consumption grew faster in the non-OECD than in the OECD between 1980 and 2001, the non-OECD’s per capita power consumption remains far smaller.
- During the 1980s and 1990s, per capita electricity consumption in the OECD increased at an average annual rate of 1.8%, from 5,751 kilowatt-hours (kwh) to 8,368 kwh. The G-7’s per capita electricity consumption also grew 1.8% per year, rising from 6,550 kwh to 9,449 kwh.
- Between 1980 and 2001, demand for electricity in the non-OECD increased by an even more rapid 2.1% per year, from 744 kwh to 1,141 kwh.
- If the entire world’s population consumed electricity at the per capita rate of the OECD in 2001, then about 51,400 bkwh of electricity would have been consumed, 269% more than actual consumption levels.
- If the entire world had consumed at G-7 per capita levels in 2001, almost 58,100 bkwh of electricity would have been consumed. The additional electricity (44,100 bkwh) is equivalent to 70.1 million barrels per day of oil equivalent – almost equal to actual world oil consumption in 2001.
- Per capita electricity demand grew very rapidly in both the MENA region and Developing Asia between 1980 and 2001, rising 5.0% and 5.9% per year, respectively. In the MENA region, this growth occurred despite falling per capita incomes.
- The world’s electricity intensity remained almost constant around 330 kwh per $1995-PPP between 1980 and 2001. It rose during the 1980s, but fell back to close to its initial position by the end of the period.
- During the same period, the OECD’s electricity intensity fell slightly, declining an average of 0.1% per year. The non-OECD’s electricity intensity grew slightly, rising an average of 0.3% per year between 1980 and 2001.
- The EE&FSU region’s electricity intensity rose between the late 1980s and mid-1990s in large part because Russia, the region’s dominant economy, maintained price controls on the factors involved in electricity production and on electricity itself. This permitted both generation and consumption to continue at comparatively high levels while the rest of the economy declined. The decline in the region’s electricity intensity during the late 1990s is partly explained by the eventual reduction of these subsidies.
- Latin America’s electricity intensity rose 63% between 1980 and 2001. This growth reflects widespread rural electrification and the development of more power-intensive industries.
Thermal Electricity Generation
- Between 1980 and 2001, the share of fossil energy in the world’s electricity generation portfolio declined -- from 70% to 64%. The bulk of the decrease took place in the early 1980s in response to the oil price hikes of the 1970s. Once oil prices declined in 1985 and 1986, the trend away from thermal generation slowed.
- The trend away from thermal electricity generation was more pronounced in the OECD than in the non-OECD. Between 1980 and 2001, the share of electricity generated by thermal power plants fell from 68% to 60% in the OECD. In the non-OECD, thermal plants’ share of electricity generation decreased more modestly, from 73% to 70%.
- The non-OECD remains more dependent upon fossil fuels for its electricity generation needs than the OECD. This is true throughout the non-OECD, except in Latin America, which uses its hydroelectric resources very intensively. In fact, Latin America is the only region in the world where thermal power plants account for less than half of all electricity generation.
- In the late 1990s, thermal generation began to grow in importance around the world. In the OECD, especially, this reflects the growing use of natural gas-fired power plants and the relative stagnation of nuclear and hydroelectric power.
Non-Thermal Electricity Generation
- In the OECD, the increasing share of non-thermal electricity generation between 1980 and 2001 resulted mainly from the relative growth of the nuclear sector. Nuclear’s share of OECD electricity generation rose dramatically, from 11% to 24%, over the period. Most of the increase took place in the 1980s.
- During the 1990s and early 2000s, lower oil prices and increased concerns over the environmental impact of nuclear power slowed the sector’s expansion.
- In the non-OECD, the absolute growth in nuclear power as a share of total power generation was more modest than in the OECD between 1980 and 2001. Its share of electricity generation grew from 3% to 8% during these years.
- Hydropower’s share grew only in one region -- Latin America -- between 1980 and 2001. Much of this growth, however, took place in the 1980s and early 1990s. Since that time, the share of Latin America’s electricity generation from hydroelectric plants has declined.
- Although now growing rapidly, non-hydroelectric renewable energy sources still account for only a small share of world electricity generation. In 2001, these sources accounted for 2% and 1% of total electricity generation in the OECD and non-OECD, respectively.