Carbon dioxide emissions rose by under one per cent in 2022, which was less than initially feared with the growth of solar, wind, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficiency helping limit the impacts of increased use of coal and oil amid the global energy crisis, said a newIEA analysis published Wednesday .
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, calling for stronger actions to accelerate the clean energy transition and move the world onto a path towards meeting its energy and climate goals, said the new analysis CO2 Emissions in 2022. This is the first in a new series, the Global Energy Transitions Stocktak.e.
In the analysis, the IEA said that CO2 emissions grew in 2022 by 0.9%, or 321 million tonnes, reaching a new high of more than 36.8 billion tonnes. 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 that extreme weather events including droughts and heatwave, 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.
“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 renewable, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficient technologies. Without clean energy, the growth in CO2 emissions would have been nearly three times as high,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “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.”
COAL AND CO2
The report stated 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. The increase in emissions from coal more than offset the 1.6% decline in emissions from natural gas as supply continued to tighten following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and as European businesses and citizens responded with efforts to cut their gas use, the IEA said.
OIL AND CO2
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.
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 renewable 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.
The global CO2 emissions numbers in the report are based on the IEA’s detailed region-by-region and fuel-by-fuel analysis, drawing on the latest official national data and publicly available energy, economic and weather data. The report covers CO2 emissions from all energy combustion and industrial processes – and also includes information on methane and nitrous oxide emissions, providing complete picture of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2022.