Thursday, November 20, 2003 Posted: 10:53 AM EST (1553 GMT)
HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) -- Worldwide annual emissions of carbon dioxide, considered a culprit in global warming, are expected to increase by 3.5 billion tons, or 50 percent, by the year 2020, an executive for ExxonMobil Corp said.
At the same time, global demand for energy will rise by 40 percent as the world population increases and economies grow, said Randy Broiles, global planning manager for Exxon's oil and gas production unit.
"Between now and 2020 we estimate increases of some 3.5 billion tons per year of additional carbon emissions, so it's definitely increasing," Broiles said Wednesday at an energy conference sponsored by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.
He said about 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, go into the earth's atmosphere each year from power plants, cars and other sources.
Experts say the United States, which has the world's largest economy and 4 percent of its population, is responsible for about 25 percent of so-called "greenhouse" gases now produced, but Broiles said most future growth in output will come from developing countries.
"Eighty percent of that number, 80 percent of 3.5 billion tons, is going to be driven by those developing countries, those economies that are growing at the 4 to 5 percent range, so that's where it's coming from," he said.
A huge increase in the number of cars will cause part of the pollution growth.
Broiles said there are now 15 cars for every 1,000 people in the world, but ExxonMobil expects that number to rise to 50 cars per 1,000 by 2020.
He said ExxonMobil foresees a 40 percent increase in energy demand even though humans are boosting their energy efficiency by about 1 percent a year. Despite advances in technology most energy will still come from fossil fuels, and in particular oil and gas, of which there remain very large reserves, he said.
"The oil resource base is huge -- it's huge -- and we expect it to satisfy
world demand growth well beyond 2020," he said.