CO2 Emissions Could Face Second Largest Increase in History

The energy demand recovery in 2021 is set to cause the second-largest increase in CO2 emissions in history.

The IEA estimates that global CO2 emissions caused by energy-related demand are on the path to increase by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021. This will be the second-largest increase in CO2 emissions in history, behind 2010’s recovery from the financial crisis. This will reverse the decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

National data and real-time analysis of economic growth trends have been used to calculate an almost 5% increase in emissions. This would bring the total to 33 billion tonnes by the end of the year and is largely caused by the coal demand recovery. Coal is expected to hit its highest peak since 2014 with a 4.5% growth and 75% of this is accounted by the electricity industry sector.

IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol, says:

“economic recovery from the Covid crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate”

Although renewable energy is making a constant increase with pressure from the Paris Climate Agreement, coal use is predicted to be 60% higher. China will be the powerhouse in this increase with more than 80% of growth coming from Asia. Whereas the US and EU will remain below pre-pandemic levels. 

However, greener news puts renewable energy on the course to increase by over 8% in 2021 which will therefore account for over half the increase in electricity. Solar and wind sources are spearheading renewable energy with wind projected to grow by 17% and solar by almost 18%. This will be their largest increases in history.

Renewable energy is also expected to account for 30% of the generation mix in 2021 which will be the largest share since the industrial revolution. China is also expected to be the powerhouse for renewables as they will account for almost half of all generation.

More information from the IEA Global Energy Review:

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