Global emissions reach record high as energy demand speeds up – IEA
Global energy demand grew at its fastest rate since 2011 last year, pushing up carbon emissions to their highest point in history.
Data from the International Energy Agency shows that renewable energy sources accounted for less than a quarter of the global increase, despite showing double-digit growth.
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The 2.3 per cent global increase was fuelled by a “robust” economy and temperatures which caused more energy to be used for heating and air conditioning, the IEA said.
With strong output from US shale fields, which pushed down oil prices, natural gas was able to feed around 45 per cent of the rise, as global gas production increased by 143m tonnes of oil equivalent.
Meanwhile demand for coal in Asia helped push up carbon emissions by 1.7 per cent. Generation in China, especially from coal, jumped to meet a 8.5 per cent rise in electricity demand.
However, the country also grew its solar and wind production more than any other in the world, the IEA said.
Meanwhile demand in the US bounced back from three years of decline to grow 3.7 per cent last year
But Europe paints a different picture, with coal and gas output falling by 19m tonnes, with renewables making up the lion’s share of its 0.2 per cent increase in energy demand.
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“We have seen an extraordinary increase in global energy demand in 2018, growing at its fastest pace this decade,” said IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol. “Last year can also be considered another golden year for gas, which accounted for almost half the growth in global energy demand.
“But despite major growth in renewables, global emissions are still rising, demonstrating once again that more urgent action is needed on all fronts – developing all clean energy solutions, curbing emissions, improving efficiency, and spurring investments and innovation, including in carbon capture, utilisation and storage.”