Economic growth is a key driver for energy demand. Since 1971, each 1% increase in global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been accompanied by a 0.6% increase in primary energy consumption. The decoupling of energy demand and GDP growth is therefore a prerequisite for an Energy [R]evolution. Most global energy/economic/environmental models constructed in the past have relied on market exchange rates to place countries in a common currency for estimation and calibration. This approach has been the subject of considerable discussion in recent years, and an alternative has been proposed in the form of purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates. Purchasing power parities compare the costs in different currencies of a fixed basket of traded and non-traded goods and services and yield a widelybased measure of the standard of living. This is important in analysing the main drivers of energy demand or for comparing energy intensities among countries.
Although PPP assessments are still relatively imprecise compared to statistics based on national income and product trade and national price indexes, they are considered to provide a better basis for global scenario development. Thus all data on economic development in WEO 2011 refers to purchasing power adjusted GDP. However, as WEO 2011 only covers the time period up to 2035, the projections for 2035-2050 for the Energy [R]evolution scenario are based on our own estimates. Furthermore, estimates of Africa’s GDP development have been adjusted upward compared to WEO 2011.
Prospects for GDP growth have decreased considerably since the previous study, due to the financial crisis at the beginning of 2009, although underlying growth trends continue much the same. GDP growth in all regions is expected to slow gradually over the coming decades. World GDP is assumed to grow on average by 3.8% per year over the period 2009-2030, compared to 3.1% from 1971 to 2007, and on average by 3.1% per year over the entire modelling period (2009-2011). China and India are expected to grow faster than other regions, followed by the Middle East, Africa, remaining Non-OECD Asia, and Eastern Europe/Eurasia. The Chinese economy will slow as it becomes more mature, but will nonetheless become the largest in the world in PPP terms early in the 2020s. GDP in OECD Europe and OECD Asia Oceania is assumed to grow by around 1.6 and 1.3% per year over the projection period, while economic growth in OECD North America is expected to be slightly higher. The OECD share of global PPP-adjusted GDP will decrease from 56% in 2009 to 33% in 2050.