Facts and Fallacies on World Fossil Fuel Use vs Renewables

Posted: November 18, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy

Robert Lyman dips into the published data and finds that ‘In spite of trillions of dollars spent subsidizing wind and solar generation around the world, it barely registers as a supply source.’

Friends of Science Calgary



Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2016

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is perhaps the premier international authority in terms of collecting data on world energy supply and demand and producing analysis for policy makers. It posts its data online, and each year publishes a report on “key energy statistics”. The following, from the 2016 IEA report, are some notable statistics that call into question the theses that the countries of the world are dedicated to reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions and that wind and solar energy sources will soon replace coal, oil and natural gas.

  • The world total primary energy supply by fuel rose steadily from about 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1971 to about 13,700 Mtoe by 2014.

  • In 2014, the shares of primary energy supply by energy source were:…

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  1. oldbrew says:

    COP22: World’s poorest countries to aim for 100% green energy

    They can ‘aim’ but a hit is vanishingly unlikely.

  2. JB says:

    Dey bin usin “green” energy fo’ millennia. Jes ain’t no money init, no’ much heat.

    Gratifying to see the same conclusions from my feasibility study back in college in the 70s verified.

    Why do people keep calling oil/gas “Fossil Fuel”? It’s an oxymoron.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Delingpole: Britain’s Stupid Climate Policy Needs the Donald Trump Treatment

    ‘At this point, America’s global economic competitors have one of two options: either they wake up and smell the coffee and move in America’s direction; or they bury their heads in the sand, pretend we’re still living in the status quo ante and sit, helpless, while America’s new higher-carbon economy steals half of their business.’

    JB: ‘fossil fuel’ has become a generic term even if it lacks scientific accuracy.

  4. Zeke says:

    “World oil consumption by sector in 2014 was divided as follows: transport, 64.5%; non-energy use, 16.2%; other (agriculture, commercial, residential, services) 11.3%; and industry 8.0%. (Message: No oil, no transportation. Also, oil is important to far more than transportation.)” ~Robert Lyman

    Transportation and resins are kind of important to our lives and culture.

    Many wonders are accomplished with those nice gigantic molecules…

  5. Zeke says:

    But coal? Folks, we are talking about the TREE OF LIFE here!


  6. Countries that are 100% renewable are known as the third world and have a peasant society. An industrial revolution with use of high energy density fossil fuels (or nuclear and hydroelectricity where available) is the only way out of poverty. Lots of cheap energy gives high productivity which gives wealth and the ability to have a clean environment. It’s difficult to make politicians see sense.

  7. manicbeancounter says:

    The excellent summary states

    In 1973, the OECD accounted for 66.6% of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion; by 2014, the OECD share had declined to 36.6%. (Message: All, or almost all, of the emissions growth is occurring outside of the OECD.)

    CO2 emissions from fuel combustion are about two-thirds of GHG emissions. From a policy point of view the aim is to reduce global GHG emissions to near zero by the end of the century. A necessary condition for this to happen is for developing countries to stop increasing their emissions, and decrease them, yet the 1992 Rio Declaration excludes them from even constraining emissions growth. These Annex 2 “developing” countries accounted for all the global growth in in GHG emissions from 1990 to 2012 using the EDGAR GHG emissions estimates. China alone accounted for half that growth. I have summarized in a graph.

    In future most of the emissions growth will derive mostly from India, other South and East Asian Countries and then from Africa. Even if the Annex 1 countries (most of OECD plus Russia) reduce their emissions to zero, global emissions will still be higher in 2100 than they are today. There is a massive policy deficit in theory as well as the practice the article.

  8. oldbrew says:

    The facts about wind power are more awkward than Obama would admit


    The US gets 5.4 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power, the UK 5.3%. Discouraging and penalizing other sources doesn’t seem like a great idea.

  9. Anoneumouse says:

    Fossils are renewable

    I live, procreate and die

  10. c777 says:

    And fossil fuels are possibly a practically inexhaustible source, if the Abiotic theory of Oil is correct.


  11. oldbrew says:

    c777: even if abiotic theory is to any extent true there’s a question of timescales, otherwise wells wouldn’t run dry (or cease to be viable).

  12. Paul Vaughan says:

    Premier Kathleen Wynne is calling high electricity prices her “mistake,” […]
    People have told me that they’ve had to choose between paying the electricity bill and buying food or paying rent,” Wynne said.

    “That is unacceptable to me. It is unacceptable that people in Ontario are facing that choice. Our government made a mistake. It was my mistake.
    Wynne […] said […] she hasn’t always paid enough attention to how costs were accumulating on people’s bills.

    Auditor general […] has said the electricity portion of hydro bills for homes and small businesses rose 70 per cent between 2006 and 2014.

    The Progressive Conservatives say electricity rates were driven up much higher than necessary by the Liberals’ overly-generous, long-term contracts for wind and solar power.

    Wynne calls high electricity prices her ‘mistake’

  13. Paul Vaughan says:

    The pipeline protests are starting up again here:

    ““The message to Justin Trudeau is clear from British Columbians: this is a line in the sands, you do not cross this and think you’ll ever elect a Liberal MP in British Columbia ever again.”
    “Metro Vancouver has voted against it, the Lower Mainland and local governments have voted against this, the city of Vancouver has been adamant – no has to be the decision. […]
    “Thousands in Vancouver will do whatever it takes to Stop #KinderMorgan.”
    Trudeau has promised a pipeline decision by Dec. 19 […]”

    They have a sense of humor.