New data from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that overall domestic energy consumption is slowing and isn’t expected to grow much over the next 25 years, despite a growing economy and population. Usage is forecast to rise 0.3 percent annually between now and 2040, or just half the expected population growth rate, and dramatically less than the 2.4 percent projections for economic growth through 2040. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are expected to increase only 0.1 percent in the same period.
Thanks to a public embrace of energy efficiency, residential fuel consumption may not grow at all over the next quarter-century. With more Americans driving electric and other energy-efficient vehicles, energy use in the transportation sector will decline slightly and gasoline consumption is expected to drop more than 20 percent by 2040. Industrial energy use is expected to grow at less than 1 percent.
College students nationwide are supporting the reported progress by conducting divestment campaigns at universities, including Divest Harvard. At a recent event, alumni, including Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, and former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth, joined students in protesting any investment of the school’s huge endowment fund in fossil fuel companies.