According to the IEA, a host of new efficiency measures, the rise of electric vehicles, and increased usage of bioplastics could combine to cap world oil demand by 2020.
All these things together, which is what the IEA says would be required to limit global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius, would mean oil demand peaking around 2020 and declining by about 20 million barrels a day by 2040. That’s 36 million barrels a day lower than the average oil company forecast for 2040—a gap larger than OPEC’s current production.
Some oil companies have acknowledged the potential for demand to peak sooner. Shell has said oil could peak somewhere between five and 15 years, while Total thinks a surge in battery powered vehicles will cause demand for oil to peak in the 2030s.
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