I’ve done a couple of posts now on variability in global energy consumption. It’s about time to start thinking about the figures on display.
Assuming the World Bank is right about GDP and that the U.S. Department of Energy is right about global energy consumption, we can confidently say that USD $60.54 trillion dollars in GDP growth is correlated with 245.5 quads in additional energy consumption. Whether energy consumption enabled GDP growth or additional GDP growth enabled energy consumption is of course, like the tallness of aunts, something the reader can choose for her/himself.
Growth in energy consumption and GDP is shown by the figures in earlier posts to be roughly correlated but with some surprises. Make no mistake, the correlation is rough, but very clear and strong.
The top years in GDP growth also show robust growth in energy consumption. However, years like 1987, 1988 and 1994, which showed high growth in energy consumption and little growth in GDP, mean that there is not a 1 to 1 relationship between the two.
The top 5 years of GDP growth added USD $30 trillion to the total, half of all GDP growth in the period we’re discussing. But those same years saw only 78.5 additional quads in energy consumption, less than a third of the 246 ‘new’ quads that were consumed.
Similarly, the bottom seven years taken together subtracted $3 trillion from GDP, but nonetheless added about 1.5 quads to energy consumption.
I suspect that macro-political and economic effects play a large role in all of this–my suspicion is that armed conflict has a lot to do with it. I’ll try and explore it later. But I also want to look at correlations between the growth in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, to see if they move in lock-step or not. So that’s what I’ll do next.
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