Providing reliable, affordable energy to support prosperity and enhance living standards is coupled with the need to do so in ways that reduce impacts on the environment, including the risks of climate change. This is society’s dual challenge and ExxonMobil takes it seriously.

Billions of people need reliable, affordable energy every day, but their use of energy is contributing to CO2 emissions. Progress on society’s energy and climate objectives requires practical approaches and new technology solutions that enable human development and economic progress.

Governments bear a unique responsibility in this regard. A key challenge is to develop and implement policies that seek to address climate change risks in the most practical and cost-effective way. Policies that promote innovation can expand the available options society has for providing access to energy while reducing impacts on the environment. Additionally, policies that harness the flexibility of free markets and competition can quickly scale the best solutions for each sector within a country. Effective policy frameworks will be critical to reduce global GHG emissions and meet society’s need for reliable and affordable energy.

Energy-related CO2 emissions peak

Billion tonnes
Image Energy-related CO2 emissions peak
  • Policy choices, consumer preferences and technology play a role in balancing energy supply and demand and the impacts on emissions.
  • From 2000 to 2017 the economic expansion in Asia Pacific saw CO2 emissions substantially rise, only partially offset by reductions in Europe and North America 
  • Global annual CO2 emissions are likely to peak by 2035, at some 5 percent above 2017 levels, as various countries try to reduce the emissions intensity of their economies 
  • This emission projection in the chart above tracks within the estimated range of emissions implied by the NDCs for 2030 as currently submitted by the countries as part of the Paris Agreement. However, these NDCs are not on a 2°C pathway as confirmed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 2018 report. Further discussion on decarbonization is covered in the next section, “Pursuing a 2°C pathway”

All sectors contributing to restrain CO2 emissions growth

Global energy-related CO2 emissions - billion tonnes
Image All sectors contributing to restrain CO2 emissions growth
  • A shift to less carbon-intensive sources of electricity (e.g., renewables, nuclear and natural gas) will reduce the CO2 intensity of delivered electricity in 2040 by more than 35 percent compared to 2017
  • Efficiency gains and growing use of less carbon-intensive energy will help reduce industrial CO2 emissions relative to GDP by about 50 percent over the Outlook period
  • Transportation represents about 25 percent of CO2 emissions today, and this share is likely to grow modestly to 2040 driven by expanding commercial transportation activity
  • Global light-duty vehicle CO2 emissions are expected to peak in the early 2020s before falling by more than 15 percent from that peak by 2040, as more efficient conventional vehicles and electric cars gain significant share
  • The primary driver of increasing global CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2017 was economic growth, as global GDP expanded about 60 percent
  • Improving energy efficiency (energy use per unit of GDP) helped slow the growth in emissions, while global CO2 intensity of energy use remained fairly constant, with increased coal use in some non-OECD countries offsetting improvements in the OECD countries
  • As the world’s economy nearly doubles by 2040, technology will be essential to mitigate emissions. Our Outlook projects a sustained improvement of CO2 intensity (more solar, wind, nuclear, coal to gas switch, CCS) in addition to accelerated efficiency gains (double the historic rate from 2000 to 2017)
  • By 2040 efficiency and emissions intensity reduction are expected to contribute to a nearly 45 percent decline in the carbon intensity of the global economy

Want to learn more about energy-related CO2 emissions and ExxonMobil’s views?


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