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Global carbon emissions to rise 43% by 2035, says US report

Global emissions of carbon dioxide will grow 43 per cent by 2035 if current patterns of energy usage continue and no global restrictions are applied, according to the latest figures from the US Energy Information Administration.

The emissions rise will be driven by a 49 per cent increase in the world's energy consumption over the same period. Developing Asia will account for 35 per cent of the increase.

The predictions are made in the EIA's International Energy Outlook 2010 with Projections to 2035, a report presented by EIA deputy administrator Howard Gruenspecht to an audience of policy wonks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.

"Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise from 30bn tonnes in 2007 to 42bn tonnes in 2035 under current laws and policies," says Gruenspecht in the report. "With no policy changes that would limit their use, fossil fuels [will] provide nearly 80 per cent of world energy consumption in 2035.

Renewable energy sources will gain a growing share of total energy use, the report predicts, as its absolute growth in use from 2007 to 2035 at 111 per cent outstrips that of petroleum liquids, despite starting from a much lower level.

Nevertheless, petroleum liquids will remain the world's single largest energy source even as their share of total energy use declines, coal use will grow 56 per cent, with China and India accounting for 85 per cent of this, and natural gas consumption will increase 44 per cent.

Nuclear power generation will increase 74 per cent, says Gruenspecht.

The report highlights the increasing need to implement low-carbon power generation technologies in the emerging economies.

"With strong economic growth and continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels expected for most of the non-OECD economies under current policies, much of the projected increase in carbon dioxide emissions occurs among the developing non-OECD nations. In 2007, non-OECD emissions exceeded OECD emissions by 17 per cent; in 2035, they are projected to be double the OECD emissions," Gruenspecht writes.

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