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Economic Development and the Demand for Energy: A Historical Perspective on the Next 20 Years

Author: Christof Rühl, Paul Appleby, Julian Fennema, Alexander Naumov, Mark Schaffer
Organisation: First Break, March 2012 - Issue 3 - Volume 30
Publish Date: March 2012
Country: Global
Sector: Development
Method: Forecasting
Theme: Energy
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Oil, energy intensity, industrialisation, fuel diversification

A major concern in the debate on the future of energy markets is resource scarcity. This paper draws on evidence from the last two centuries of industrialisation, analysing the evolution of energy intensity over the long- and short-run. We show that the increased specialisation of the fuel mix, coupled with accelerating convergence of both the sectoral and technological composition of economies, will continue to improve energy efficiency and to reduce the reliance on any single energy resource. This analysis suggests that high growth in per capita income over the next 20 years need not be constrained by resource availability.
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