The latest BP report predicts drop in fossil fuel demand

To avoid catastrophic global heating, countries need to phase out oil and gas as quickly as possible.

The extraction and consumption of these fossil fuels is the most nefarious cause of global heating.

But is the tide slowly turning?

In its annual energy outlook, energy giant BP has lowered its predictions for how much oil and gas will be used between now and 2035.

So how much have forecasts dropped - and will this reduction be enough?

What will the world look like with the BP predictions?

The BP report scales back oil demand predictions for 2035 by 5 per cent. The reduction for natural gas is 6 per cent.

It attributes this adjustment to the global shift to renewable energy and to the growing uptake of electric cars.

“The increased importance placed on energy security as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war leads over time to a shift away from fossil fuels towards locally produced non-fossil fuels, accelerating the energy transition,” a BP spokesperson said on Monday.

It’s good news - but to be clear, the energy giant is still presuming a lot of oil will be consumed.

BP predicts that by 2030 it will produce 37.8 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas per year.

A gigatonne is a billion metric tons - or the amount of CO2 produced by 16.6 million flights between New York and LA.

If we are to prevent global heating of more than 1.5 degree, our remaining carbon budget is just 500 gigatonnes. BP - a single company - predicts that it will produce a tenth of this per year by 2030.

The climate crisis requires far more rapid decarbonisation.

How can we reach net zero?

To reach net zero by 2050, global emissions would need to at least halve by 2030. In contrast, BP’s ‘New Momentum’ report entails a 30 per cent reduction.

According to a 2021 study, the vast majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground if we are to prevent warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages. To keep this goal alive, 90 per cent of coal must remain unextracted and nearly 60 per cent of oil and fossil methane gas must stay underground, it warned.

Oil and gas companies insist that their predictions allow for a renewable transition - but they have a track record of occluding climate science.

Earlier this month, the UN Secretary General slammed fossil fuel companies for fudging climate data for their own benefit.

“We learned last week that certain fossil fuel producers were fully aware in the 1970s that their core product was baking our planet,” he said.

His comments came after the release of a report proving that Exxon scientists had predicted climate change with “shocking skill and accuracy” in the 70s.