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October 11, 2023

EIA projections indicate global energy consumption increases through 2050, outpacing efficiency gains and driving continued emissions growth

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that global energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions will increase through 2050 (assuming the global energy system remains on its current trajectory and absent new policy). Global population growth, increased regional manufacturing, and higher living standards push growth in energy consumption beyond advances in energy efficiency, according to EIA’s projections in its International Energy Outlook 2023 (IEO2023).

In IEO2023, EIA projects that global energy-related CO2 emissions will increase through 2050 in most of the cases modeled. Although EIA expects zero-carbon technology—renewables and nuclear—will meet the bulk of new energy demand through 2050, that growth is not sufficient to decrease global energy-related CO2 emissions in most cases under current laws and regulations, according to EIA’s projections.

“IEO2023 fills an important niche among global outlooks by focusing on a plausible but sober assessment of global energy trends through the first half of the century,” said EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis. “There is considerable uncertainty in the energy landscape over the next 30 years, and the IEO provides a set of policy neutral baselines that will help guide sound decision-making.”

EIA’s projections assume no new laws and regulations, although they include side cases that account for varying levels of economic growth, oil prices, and zero-carbon technology costs.

Below are three main takeaways from EIA’s IEO2023 projections, followed by key sector-specific highlights.

Increasing population and income offset the effects of declining energy and carbon intensity on emissions.
Across all cases explored in IEO2023, global energy consumption increases, with the fastest growth in the residential and industrial sectors. Global consumption of liquid fuels increases through 2050, with the fastest growth occurring in industrial applications such as chemical production.

Economic growth and increased disposable income also increase demand for transportation in all cases.

“The transportation and industrial sectors are major consumers of liquid fuels throughout our projection period, but as electric vehicles grow to become a larger part of the global transportation fleet, the industrial sector accounts for an increasing share of petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption,” DeCarolis said.

The shift to renewables to meet growing electricity demand is driven by regional resources, technology costs, and policy.
Compared with 2022, global electric power generating capacity increases by somewhere between 55% and 108% by 2050, depending on the case. Electricity generation increases between 30% to 76% over that period. Renewables, nuclear, and battery storage account for most of the growth in both global capacity and generation.

Electricity generation from renewables and nuclear could increase by between 54% and 67%, according to EIA’s projections.

“Renewables become an increasingly cost-competitive source of electricity and grow the fastest in cases that assume high economic growth and greater electricity demand,” DeCarolis said.

Global battery storage capacity grows significantly in all IEO2023 cases. In 2022, battery storage accounted for less than 1% of global power capacity. EIA projects that battery storage capacity will grow to make up between 4% and 9% of global power capacity by 2050.

Energy security concerns hasten a transition from fossil fuels in some countries, although they drive increased fossil fuel consumption in others.
In nearly all IEO2023 cases, growth in energy production from non-fossil fuel sources outpaces growth in fossil fuels, but that dynamic varies from region to region. In Western Europe and China, policy, rapid demand growth, and energy security considerations favor locally available resources such as wind, solar, and battery storage, prompting more of these types of installations early in the projection period. Regions with access to relatively affordable coal, such as the Other Asia-Pacific region, consume more coal.

Natural gas and crude oil supply, consumption, and trade patterns evolve in our projections to meet growing demand against the backdrop of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which we assume will continue to limit Russia’s exports to Western markets. The Middle East and North America increase natural gas production and exports to meet growing demand, particularly in China, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

“Across the cases we modeled, energy demand from China, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa will continue to support growth in global natural gas production,” DeCarolis said.

The full IEO2023 is available on EIA's website.

Projections for the United States in IEO2023 are consistent with those released in the Annual Energy Outlook 2023. EIA does not develop the IEO2023 Reference case as the most probable prediction of the future but rather as a baseline for estimating the effects of policy or technology changes. The side cases show the effects of changing key model assumptions about economic growth, capital costs for zero-carbon technologies, and world oil price.

Additional takeaways from IEO2023

  • EIA projections show that primary energy will increase by somewhere between 16% and 57% by 2050 compared with 2022, depending on the case, and average annual growth rates range from 0.5% to 1.6% per year.
  • Across the cases, EIA projects demand for oil and natural gas to increase through 2050 along with growth in global energy demand.
  • EIA expects renewables will meet the bulk of new energy demand through the projection period. Under current laws, renewables, nuclear, and battery storage make up somewhere between 81% and 95% of new global generating capacity installed through 2050.


  • EIA projects global electricity demand could increase by about one-third to three-quarters by 2050, depending on the case. As much as two-thirds of the world’s electricity generation is projected to come from renewables and nuclear.
  • Natural gas accounts for approximately 15% to 20% of global electricity generation across all cases in EIA’s projections. In the natural gas-rich Middle East, natural gas provides as much as 85% of electricity generation throughout the projection period.
  • Battery storage makes up between 18% and 26% of India’s installed electricity capacity by 2050, backing up solar power, which grows to account for between 40% and 50% of the country’s generating capacity.


  • Compared with 2022, global demand for oil increases between 3% and 10% by 2030 and between 6% and 42% by 2050, depending on the case. Growth in global oil demand is greatest in the High Economic Growth case. Global oil production is projected to reach around 120 million barrels per day by 2050 in the Reference case.
  • Refineries adjust production over time to meet a changing product slate in which gasoline demand falls and jet fuel demand rises with global economic growth.

Natural Gas

  • Compared with 2022, global demand for natural gas increases between 2% and 10% by 2030 and between 11% and 57% by 2050 across cases. Global demand for natural gas increases most in the High Economic Growth case.
  • China accounts for the most growth in natural gas consumption by volume in the Asia-Pacific region, as natural gas consumption increases in all of China’s economic sectors through 2050.
  • In most IEO2023 cases, Western Europe and Asia continue to import natural gas through 2050, while the Middle East and North America continue to produce and export more natural gas.


  • Compared with 2022, coal consumption ranges from a 7% decrease to a 6% increase by 2030 and a 12% decrease to a 19% increase by 2050.
  • Projected global demand for coal increases or decreases, depending largely on global economic growth.

Energy-related emissions

  • Energy-related CO2 emissions increase by 2050 in most IEO2023 cases, despite the decreasing intensity of energy-related CO2 emissions in all IEO2023 cases.
  • China remains the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions through the projection period, although its share of the global total declines. India surpasses the United States and Western Europe as an emitter of energy-related CO2.


  • Compared with 2022, global demand for passenger travel increases by somewhere between 64% and 108%, primarily due to growth in both population and income.
  • Electric vehicles represent between 29% and 54% of global new vehicle sales by 2050, depending on the case.
  • The global fleet of internal combustion engine light-duty vehicles peaks between 2027 and 2033 across all IEO2023 projections.


  • India, Africa, and parts of Asia and the Americas have the fastest growth in energy consumption by the industrial sector. In these regions, growth in manufacturing is more significant than declines in energy intensity, leading to overall growth in energy consumption.
  • Industrial energy consumption declines the most in China as manufacturing becomes a smaller share of total industrial activity in the country.

Commercial and residential buildings

  • Global electricity use in buildings grows twice as quickly as natural gas use through 2050 in all cases, reflecting a trend toward electrification.
  • In India, residential energy use triples as households accumulate more disposable income and the population continues to grow.
The product described in this press release was prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, EIA’s data, analysis, and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the U.S. government. The views in the product and this press release therefore should not be construed as representing those of the U.S. Department of Energy or other federal agencies.

EIA Press Contact: Chris Higginbotham, EIAMedia@eia.gov