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Energy and the World in 2040

ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, which we released this morning, is our annual report on global energy trends to guide our business strategies and investments for meeting future demand. So we have a strong interest in getting our projections right.

But we also make our projections public because we recognize the value they can offer to policymakers and to anyone who has an interest in energy issues. As ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has noted, “Understanding future energy trends is critical for effective policy decisions that can help ensure safe, reliable and affordable energy development and economic growth, job creation and expanded global trade.”

I encourage you to explore the whole document, but I do want to highlight several key findings about what we expect the world will look like – and how we will produce and use energy – in the year 2040.

      • Global energy demand will be about 35 percent higher in 2040 than today. The world’s population is expected to approach nearly 9 billion people (from roughly 7 billion today) and global economic output is expected to more than double. But improvements in efficiency across economies worldwide will limit the rise in energy demand and will help curb emissions.
      • Energy-saving practices and technologies in countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – including those in North America and Europe – will keep energy use at essentially the same level, even as OECD economic output grows 80 percent.
      • The more widespread use of energy-efficient technologies and less carbon-intensive energy sources will result in a 20 percent drop in carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in OECD nations. And overall the growth rate of global CO2 emissions will be about half that of global energy demand.
      • Electricity demand will grow by about 85 percent. Growing electricity demand will remain the biggest driver of global energy needs and power generation will account for 40 percent of global energy use by 2040.
      • Oil will remain the most widely used fuel worldwide, with natural gas – the fastest-growing major fuel worldwide – overtaking coal for the No. 2 spot. Demand for coal will peak around 2025 and begin a gradual decline for the first time since the Industrial Revolution began in the mid-1700s.
      • Natural gas demand will rise by 65 percent through 2040, supported by growing unconventional supplies such as from shale.

These are just several of the myriad findings in a document filled with a wide range of projections and perspectives on our energy future.

I invite you to take a look for yourself, and I suggest you keep it handy for reference throughout the year. It reveals a world in which energy is truly vital and examines the inexorable link between energy use and economic progress, and improved living conditions around the globe.