In 2022, carbon dioxide emissions reached a record, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported in a document on Thursday, March 2. However, the increase compared to the 2021 figure was less than expected.
Carbon dioxide emissions
The IEA predicted that the global energy crisis, triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, would cause emissions to grow much more than the 0.9% increase that was recorded. Between 2020 and 2021, for example, emissions increased by 6%, after the world ‘reopened’ after the pandemic.
However, “the risk of unbridled growth in emissions from increased recourse to coal in a context of energy crisis did not materialize,” says this year’s report. The reason, indicates the IEA, is the rise of renewable energies, such as solar and wind, electric vehicles and energy efficiency.
However, to meet the goal of halving global emissions by the end of this decade, a 7% reduction would need to be achieved each year. Last year, 36.8 billion tons were emitted. The largest increase in emissions came from the power and heat generation sector, whose emissions increased by 1.8%.
This sector felt the blow of the world energy crisis, since its emissions associated with coal grew by 2.1%, especially in the emerging economies of Asia. In a broader picture, CO2 emissions from coal increased “far exceeding the average growth rate of the last decade and reaching a new all-time high of almost”, the report highlights.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine meant that European countries had restricted access to natural gas. For this reason, the IEA report found that emissions associated with this fuel fell, both in Europe (-13.5%) and in the Asia-Pacific region (-1.8%).
Fossil fuels rise
However, this also directly influenced the increase in coal consumption and, therefore, the emissions associated with that fuel. The sector that presented the greatest decrease in its emissions was that of industrial processes.
“We continue to see emissions from fossil fuels rise, hampering efforts to meet global climate goals. International and national fossil fuel companies are earning record revenues and must shoulder their share of responsibility, in line with their public promises to meet climate targets,” stressed Fatih Birol, IEA director in launching the report.
The findings of this paper will likely be discussed during COP28 later this year. There, countries must draw up a “global inventory” since the Paris Agreement was signed, a kind of thermometer to assess how much has been achieved since the largest climate pact was reached, so far, in 2015.
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