Here are some rough answers to an important question for the future of U.S. energy and climate policy: What exactly does “beyond” mean?, Ben writes.

Catch up fast: President Biden went off script in the State of the Union when saying the U.S. will need oil for at least a decade and “beyond.”

What we’re watching: To paraphrase Prince, beyond is a mighty long time, so here’s a look at some attempts to game out the future.

Wood Mackenzie analyst Ed Crooks’ new column notes their “base case” sees U.S. oil use plateauing in the mid-2020s; in 2050, it’s just 35% below current levels.
The International Energy Agency, meanwhile, has a similar view (see chart above). In their projection of existing policies, demand falls 29% from 2021 levels by 2050 to a still-robust 12.6 million barrels per day.
Yes, but: In the IEA scenario in which U.S. climate pledges are achieved, the decline is far steeper, falling to 5 million barrels per day — which is hardly nothing — at midcentury.

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