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International Energy Outlook 2021

Release Date: October 6, 2021 Next Release Date: October 2023 IEO Narrative PDF

Key takeaways from the Reference and side cases

If current policy and technology trends continue, global energy consumption and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will increase through 2050 as a result of population and economic growth

Liquid fuels remain the largest energy source in the Reference case, but renewable energy use grows to nearly the same level.

Across all cases, end-use sectors in non-OECD countries drive the return of global energy use to pre-pandemic levels.

By 2050, global energy use in the Reference case increases nearly 50% compared with 2020—mostly a result of non-OECD economic growth and population, particularly in Asia.

In the Reference case, global emissions rise throughout the projection period, although slowed by regional policies, renewable growth, and increasing energy efficiency.

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

Increases in electricity generation are primarily from renewable generation sources.

World coal-fired generation declines through 2030 in the Reference case, but it remains a significant part of the worldwide generation mix.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the global electric power sector remain stable despite significant growth in electricity demand.

Oil and natural gas production will continue to grow, mainly to support increasing energy consumption in developing Asian economies

Supply of petroleum and other liquids continues increasing in both OPEC and non-OPEC regions to meet growing world demand through 2050 across cases.

Non-OECD Asia lacks adequate production to meet growing demand; most of the crude oil it uses comes from the Middle East.

Natural gas production increases worldwide to help satisfy key demand markets.