Fossil fuel demand could “fall significantly by 2040”, according to a new study by think tank Carbon Tracker.
The potential drop in demand is due to rapid advances in technology, increasingly cheap renewable energy, slower economic growth and lower than expected population, it claims.
The analysis challenges nine business assumptions made by the big energy companies when calculating whether fossil use will continue to grow for the next few decades.
Typical industry scenarios see coal, oil and gas use growing by 30%-50% and still making up 75% of the energy supply mix in 2040, the report claims.
It added these scenarios do not reflect the potential for reducing fossil fuel demand in accordance with decarbonisation pathways.
Carbon Tracker’s Head of Research, James Leaton, said: “We have seen in recent weeks how the fossil fuel sector has misled consumers and investors about emissions – the Volkswagen scandal being a case in point – and deliberately acted against climate science for decades, judging from the recent Exxon exposé.
“Why should investors accept their claims about future coal and oil demand when they clearly don’t stack up with technology and policy developments?”