Glen Peters Profile picture
Research Director @CICERO_klima on past, current, & future trends in energy & emissions. Projects: @V_ERIFY_H2020, @4C_H2020, @ParisReinforce, @CoCO2_project

Aug 28, 2018, 13 tweets

What is the role of oil in a 2°C world?

THREAD on my presentation at #ONS2018 #CentreCourt (Monday), where I (try to) explain why there is potentially space for some new oil & what constrains the amount 1/…

It is important to remember, that every molecule of CO₂ that enters the atmosphere causes the temperature to increase. To stop temperature rising, either stop emitting CO₂ or, if you must, take out what you put in. 2/

Because it is unlikely we can get to zero emissions in 10-20 years (1.5°C) or 30-40 years (2°C), we have to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere. The more removed, the less radical the short-term reductions. Radical mitigation AND CO₂ removal is key. 3/

Carbon budgets are not that useful at the policy level (,, so we instead use emission scenarios to explore future uncertainties (top). For this presentation, it is useful to group scenarios to focus on stylised pathways (bottom) 4/

In optimal scenarios, oil demand peaks in about 2020's for a little under 2°C (blue), 2030 for a little over 2°C (green), 2040 for ~2.5°C (yellow), etc, after which there is a gradual decline to 2100. All is stubborn. 5/

If we empty all existing oil fields (black), then there is not enough to meet demand, even to stay below 2°C. There is a "supply gap", but it's exact size will depend on lots of supply, demand, & socioeconomic energy system assumptions. 6/

Why does oil demand remain rather stubborn? Rule of thumb: ~25% of oil is for private cars, ~25% freight, ~25% shipping / aviation, ~25% petrochemicals. Even if electric vehicles take over the world tomorrow, oil demand will still persist. 7/

To get an idea of how challanging it is to reduce emissions in frieght, aviation, shipping, and other hard-to-mitigate sectors, then have a read of this recent review. Long distance transport is about 5% of global emissions.… 8/

All this is based on "optimal" scenarios. To get from a reference to 2°C requires huge decreases in energy use & coal, plus rapid growth in CCS, bioenergy, & non-fossil energy. Miss any of these "building blocks", the less oil... 9/
More info...…

Worth noting that there are many different ways to get to 2°C, different models & socioeconomic assumptions will lead to different pathways. These risks leads to more or less oil. Risks abound, which is why we use scenarios in the first place... /10

Yes, there is potentially place for new oil in a 2°C world:
* There is much less coal, oil, gas in a 2°C world than in 3°C (BAU is over)
* New oil requires the death of coal, & emergence of renewables, CCS, EVs, CO₂ removal, ...
* Don't meet those criteria, then less oil /11

What can the oil industry do?
* Support & push broad decarbonisation, everyone needs to do their part
* Focus on high-value niche opportunities
* Utilise the skill set, which is far beyond petroleum engineering
* Read the great thread by @JigarShahDC /12

Important to remember nothing is black & white, the future of oil is a complex & nuanced discussion. Happy for comments on the presentation & discussion. 13/end…

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