World - Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Hit Record High In 2022

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 0.9% to reach a new record high in 2022, although the pace of growth was lower than feared, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a new report on Thursday.

Despite the coal-to-gas switching amid the energy crisis and soaring natural gas prices, the increase in CO2 emissions was lower than initially feared, thanks to the rise in deployment of clean energy technologies and industrial production curtailment, particularly in China and Europe, the IEA said in the CO2 Emissions in 2022 report.  

“The rise in emissions was significantly slower than global economic growth of 3.2%, signalling a return to a decade-long trend that was interrupted in 2021 by the rapid and emissions-intensive economic rebound from the Covid crisis,” the IEA said.

Last month, the IEA said that an expected surge in renewables electricity generation over the next few years signals that the world is close to the tipping point of emissions in the power sector.

In 2022, “The impacts of the energy crisis didn’t result in the major increase in global emissions that was initially feared – and this is thanks to the outstanding growth of renewables, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficient technologies. Without clean energy, the growth in CO2 emissions would have been nearly three times as high,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said, commenting on today’s report.

China’s emissions were flat last year, dropping by 0.2% from 2021, due to weaker economic growth and the Covid-related restrictions. Europe saw a 2.5% decline in CO2 emissions, due to mild winter weather that resulted in lower emissions from the buildings sector, the IEA said.

Conversely, the buildings sector, due to extreme temperatures, drove a 0.8% growth in U.S. emissions, the agency added.

The IEA called on fossil fuel companies “to take their share of responsibility” to lower emissions.

“While rising emissions from fossil fuels undermine efforts to meet the world’s climate goals, many fossil fuel companies made record profits in 2022,” the IEA’s Birol said. “Given their public pledges, it’s vital that they review their strategies to ensure they’re aligned with real emissions reductions.”

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