New Delhi: Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew in 2022 by 0.9%, or 321 million tonnes, reaching a new high of more than 36.8 billion tonnes, according to International Energy Agency IEA, in its latest analysis.
The agency added that CO2 emissions were less than initially feared – as the growth of solar, wind, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficiency helped limit the impacts of increased use of coal and oil.
“Although the rise in emissions last year was far smaller than the exceptional jump of over 6% in 2021, emissions still remain on an unsustainable growth trajectory,” it said.
The report also called for stronger actions to accelerate the clean energy transition and move the world onto a path towards meeting its energy and climate goals, according to the new analysis, CO2 Emissions in 2022.
The report is the first in a new series, the Global Energy Transitions Stocktake, which will bring together the IEA’s latest analysis in one place, making it freely accessible in support of the first Global Stocktake in the lead-up to the COP28 Climate Change Conference in November.
“Extreme weather events including droughts and heatwaves, as well as an unusually large number of nuclear power plants being offline, contributed to the rise in emissions. But an additional 550 million tonnes of emissions were avoided by increased deployment of clean energy technologies” said the report.
Executive Director Fatih Birol said, “However, we still see emissions growing from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to meet the world’s climate targets. International and national fossil fuel companies are making record revenues and need to take their share of responsibility, in line with their public pledges to meet climate goals”.
“It’s critical that they review their strategies to make sure they’re aligned with meaningful emissions reductions,” he said.
The report noted that CO2 emissions from coal grew by 1.6% as the global energy crisis continued to spur a wave of gas-to-coal switching in Asia, and to a lesser degree in Europe.
While the increase in coal emissions was only around one-quarter of 2021’s rise, it still far exceeded the last decade’s average growth rate.
CO2 emissions from oil grew even more than those from coal, increasing by 2.5% but still remaining below pre-pandemic levels.
“Around half of the year-on-year increase in oil’s emissions came from aviation as air travel continued to rebound from pandemic lows” said IEA.
China’s emissions were broadly flat in 2022 as strict Covid-19 measures and declining construction activity led to weaker economic growth and reductions in industrial and transport emissions.
The European Union’s emissions fell by 2.5%, thanks to record deployment of renewables helping ensure the use of coal was not as high as some observers had anticipated.
A mild start to the European winter and energy savings measures in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also contributed.
In the United States, emissions grew by 0.8% as buildings increased their energy consumption to cope with extreme temperatures.
“Excluding China, emissions from Asia’s emerging and developing economies increased by 4.2%, reflecting their rapid economic and energy demand growth,” said the report.