Energy Use and Evolution of Air Pollution Levels Within OECD Countries

Thus, initiatives from the Kyoto Protocol to the European Councils[1] have exposed the future implications and consequences of global warming; they have also addressed the design and realization of program strategies and actions, as well as public and private decisions about the energy sector (IPCC 2007a, 2014; EU 2001, 2008, among others).

Total CO Emission-Fuel Combustion

Fig. 1 Total CO2 Emission-Fuel Combustion (Mt of CO2) in OECD & Non-OECD countries (1974-2014). Notes Main axis OECD and Non-OECD CO2 Emission-Fuel Combustion (Mt of CO2). Secondary axis Non-OECD Share (%) CO2 emissions (Source IEA 2016)

Several studies have highlighted the crucial role that energy sector currently plays in societies. This sector is becoming an essential issue for the welfare of countries and, by extension, their citizens, either on consumer side or as producers. Below this framework, there has been increasing concern about sustainability, including efforts to promote regulatory initiatives that may reduce air pollution levels. It is recognized that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their evolution are still under study. Analysis focuses on climate change and the adverse changes that are taking place in the environment.

Figure 1 relates the evolution of CO2 emissions in OECD countries (developed countries) and Non-OECD countries (developing countries). Between 1974 and 2014, both OECD and Non-OECD countries increased their shares of CO2 emissions. In OECD countries, CO2 emissions levels have increased from 10077.41 Mtod of CO2 to 11856.55 Mtod of CO2 (IEA 2016). Non-OECD countries increased from 4800.76 Mtod of CO2 to 19395.04 Mtod of CO2. During the last decade, developing countries’ share of CO2 emissions overcame that of developed countries (Fig. 1). When we analyze the evolution of CO2 emissions, in OECD countries we can observe a link with the evolution of air pollution levels. In this chapter, we will attempt to show how both economic growth and energy innovation measures are linked with this fact. On the other hand, Fig. 1 also shows the share (%) of CO2 emissions of OECD and Non-OECD countries. Figure 1 reveals that the share of CO2 emissions in OECD countries has changed during the last two

World Total Energy Production by Sources

Fig. 2 World Total Energy Production by Sources (ktoe) (1974-2014). Notes Share (%) of Renewables and waste/Total Energy Production (Main axis). World Total Energy Production by Sources (ktoe) (Secondary axis) (Source IEA 2016) decades. In the seventies and eighties, OECD countries had a higher share of CO2 emissions. Currently, this share has declined and Non-OECD countries represent the main contributors to global CO2 emissions (60% in 2014).

In 2014, world carbon emissions amounted to 32381.04 Mtod CO2. This indicates an increase in emission levels. It implies an increase of 110% from 1974 to 2014, although during the last decade the OECD countries have appeared to reduce their CO2 emissions (IEA 2016).

In recent decades, worldwide economic development has generated a large demand for energy, such that the global demand for energy tripled in 2014 compared to its 1974 level: fossil fuel energy accounted for more than 80% of that increase, and increasing energy demand was a key driver of rising CO2 emissions (IEA 2013a).

Figure 2 represents a compilation of diverse energy sources that can be used to analyze the advance of these variables during recent decades. First, Fig. 2 shows the evolution of energy production by source (ktoe) between 1974 and 2014. From 1974 to 2014, both OECD and Non-OECD countries increased their non-renewable outputs. On other hand, the production of renewable sources increased from 12 to 14% between 1974 and 2014. By 2014, renewable energy sources had increased to 1,929,079 ktoe of energy production and 1,188,401 ktoe of energy consumption (IEA 2016).

OECD and Non-OECD countries’ Renewables and Waste Consumption

Fig. 3 OECD and Non-OECD countries’ Renewables and Waste Consumption (ktoe) (19742014). Notes Share (%) of Renewables and waste Final Consumption in OECD countries (Main axis). OECD and Non-OECD countries Renewables and Waste Consumption (ktoe) (secondary axis) (Source IEA 2016)

Figure 3 illustrates the global evolution of renewable consumption and waste (ktoe) in OECD and Non-OECD countries. It reveals a net increase in consumption (from 620629.42 ktoe in 1974 to 1075423.01 ktoe in 2014). In 1974, renewable production in OECD countries was 182635.67 ktoe, and consumption was 85435.38 ktoe. In 2014, energy production by renewable sources was 512300.02 ktoe in OECD countries, and consumption of renewable sources accounted for 209453.01 ktoe (IEA 2016).

Climate change has been aggravated in recent years as CO2 emissions have continued to grow in both developed and developing countries (IPCC 2014). Although OECD countries have a larger responsibility for climate change, non-OECD countries have accounted for almost 50% of global carbon emissions since the last decade. These emissions were linked to the energy sector (OECD 2013).

On other hand, some studies argue that the increase in the share of renewable energy sources is generated by innovation in the energy sector. These measures are connected with the reduction in CO2 emissions (Foxon and Pearson 2007;

Jefferson 2008; Balsalobre et al. 2015; Dogan and Seker 2016). In addition, to complement these activities, it is also necessary to increase overall efficiency in the energy sector (Eichhammer et al. 2013; Marques et al. 2010; Schleich 2009).

  • [1] Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU andrepealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC.
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