Energy officials have projected that global carbon dioxide emissions will increase until 2050, even with moves towards more renewables.

In the US Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2021 released on Wednesday, its analysts provide an unbiased view of energy markets based on a reference case and side cases.

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“In our reference case, the average annual growth rate of GDP globally is 2.8% per year over the 2020 through 2050 period. And by 2050, we assume that [the] world oil price is $95 per barrel in real dollars,” Stephen Nalley, acting administrator of the EIA, said during a virtual presentation.

Side cases were based on high and low rates of GDP growth and oil prices.

If current policy and technology trends continue, global energy consumption and energy-related CO2 emissions will increase to 2050 because of population and economic growth, the reference case showed.

“Under the influence of current energy trends and relationships, and without significant policy changes or technological breakthroughs, the EIA projects that both global use of energy and production of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will increase through 2050,” Nalley said.

If current trends continue, he said, growth in GDP and population will offset near-term pandemic-related declines in energy use and in long-term energy efficiency improvements, driving the increase in global consumption.

The EIA also projected in its reference case that oil and natural gas production will increase overall to meet demand in developing Asian economies.

“A driver of this growth is that we believe that the developing economies of the non- [Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development] Asia in particular will import more liquid fuels because those economies lack sufficient production capacity to meet growing demand,” said Nalley.

“When we adjust our model for faster global economic growth or for higher oil price trajectory, we actually see unprecedented levels of petroleum and other liquid feedstock production into the future.”

The increased imports will primarily be supported by greater production in the Middle East, with non-OECD Asia becoming the largest importer of natural gas, and Russia will be the biggest net exporter of natural gas by 2050 in the reference case, the EIA said.

Renewables will be the primary source for new electricity generation, but natural gas, coal and increasingly batteries will be used to meet load and support grid reliability.

“We see power from natural gas, coal and batteries will allow the electric grid to meet demand through 2050. Under current laws and regulation, these fuels are often the least-cost resources to meet reliability needs and provide energy when renewable resources such as wind, sun and water are not available,” Nalley said.