The importance of energy

Energy growth is directly linked to well-being and prosperity across the globe. Meeting the growing demand for energy in a safe and environmentally responsible manner is a key challenge.

Modern energy enriches life. There are seven billion people on earth who use energy each day to make their lives richer, more productive, safer and healthier. It is perhaps the biggest driver of energy demand: the human desire to sustain and improve the well-being of ourselves, our families and our communities. Through 2040, population and economic growth will drive demand higher, but the world will use energy more efficiently and shift toward lower-carbon fuels.

Here are some other findings to consider:

  • In developing countries, energy demand will grow close to 60 percent as five-sixths of the world’s population strives to improve their living standards. In developed economies, energy demand will remain essentially flat.
  • Growing electricity demand will remain the biggest driver of energy needs, with electricity generation accounting for 40 percent of global energy use by 2040.
  • Natural gas – which emits up to 60 percent less CO2 emissions than coal when used for electricity generation − will be the fastest-growing major fuel. Unconventional gas – from shale and other rock formations – has helped unlock up to 250 years of global gas supply at current demand levels.
  • Gains in efficiency across economies worldwide through energy-saving practices and technologies will significantly reduce demand growth and
    curb emissions.
  • Keeping pace with energy demand growth will require unprecedented levels of investment and
    the pursuit of all economic energy sources.
  • In 2040, global energy demand will be about 30 percent higher compared to 2010 as economic output more than doubles and prosperity expands across a world whose population will grow to nearly nine billion people.


Global Energy Demand by Fuel Type


These key findings first appeared in ExxonMobil’s 2012 The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040. ExxonMobil and its affiliates use the Outlook to guide their investment decisions and to encourage a broader understanding of the energy issues that affect all of us.