Future population development is an important factor in energy scenario building because population size affects the size and composition of energy demand, directly and through its impact on economic growth and development. The IEA World Energy Outlook 2011 uses the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) projections for population development. For this study the most recent population projections from UNDP up to 2050 are applied53, in addition, the current national population projection is used for China (see Table 4.2).
Based on UNDP’s 2010 assessment, the world’s population is expected to grow by 0.76 % on average over the period 2007 to 2050, from 6.8 billion people in 2009 to nearly 9.3 billion by 2050. The rate of population growth will slow over the projection period, from 1.1% per year during 2009-2020 to 0.5% per year during 2040-2050. The updated projections show an increase in population estimates by 2050 of around 150 million compared to the UNDP 2008 edition. This will slightly increase the demand for energy. From a regional perspective,the population of the developing regions will continue to grow most rapidly. The Eastern Europe Eurasia will face a continuous decline, followed after a short while by the OECD Asia Oceania. The population in OECD Europe and OECD North America are expected to increase through 2050. The share of the population living in today’s non-OECD countries will increase from the current 82% to 85% in 2050. China’s contribution to world population will drop from 20% today to 14% in 2050. Africa will remain the region with the highest growth rate, leading to a share of 24% of world population in 2050. Satisfying the energy needs of a growing population in the developing regions of the world in an environmentally friendly manner is the fundamental challenge to achieve a global sustainable energy supply.