The rebound in coal and gas puts carbon emissions on track for the 2021 rise
According to the latest forecasts from the International Energy Agency, the world is on track to record the second largest increase in energy-related carbon emissions in 2021, driven by the recovery in coal use in Asia.
Global energy-related CO2 emissions could fall by 1.5 billion tonnes this year to 33 billion tonnes, the highest increase since 2010, the IEA said on Tuesday. This would reverse 80 percent of the decline in 2020, when the pandemic reduced demand, with emissions re-registering below the 2019 peak.
The rebound in coal that was being used to generate electricity in China was expected to fuel a large portion of this year’s increase, the IEA said.
“It is a harsh warning that the economic recovery from the Covid crisis will not be sustainable for our climate,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. He called on global leaders to commit to “clear and immediate action” at a climate summit in the U.S. over the weekend.
The IEA warned about the world in March energy-related carbon emissions they were higher in December than they were in the same month in 2019 as contagious activity recovered from coronavirus blockages – Birol said the discovery should be a “strong warning” to policy makers.
Global carbon emissions in 2020 were almost 6% lower in 2020 than in the previous year, but this trend began to reverse rapidly as economies began to reopen.
On Tuesday, the IEA predicted that the use of all fossil fuels would grow “significantly” in 2021, as coal and gas would be in greater demand in 2021 than in 2019. Overall, energy demand is expected to rise by 4.6. the percentage is driven by emerging markets in 2021 – a 4 percent drop in 2020.
Coal demand is expected to grow by 4.5 percent this year and near the peak of 2014, largely fueled by Asian fuel and China in particular, according to IEA findings. The forecasts were based on national data and real-time trends in economic growth and development energy projects.
Coal use was also on the rise in the US and the EU, although it is likely to remain below the coronavirus crisis level, the IEA said.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday that it should be an “absolute priority” not to build new coal-fired power plants and that by 2040 coal will be completely eradicated in all countries by 2040. In the absence of urgent action, the world would not limit the warming of the Paris Agreement to limit heating to 1.5 C from previous levels of industry, he said.
Along with Guterres, World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said there is already a “20 percent chance” of global warming at 1.5 C in the next five years.
Newsletter twice a week
Energy is an essential business in the world and the Energy Source is its newsletter. Every Tuesday and Thursday, directly to your inbox, Energy Sources provides you with key news, forward-looking analysis, and inner intelligence. Register here.
“It simply came to our notice then [1.5C] temporary, ”he said.
The expected increase in fossil fuel use in 2021 would also coincide with record annual increases in the amounts of energy generated by both solar and wind, the IEA said on Tuesday. Renewable energy sources are expected to generate about a third of the world’s electricity this year.
Oil is likely to remain below the 2019 peak, as the IEA said the aircraft sector was still at a pre-pandemic level.
Continue @ftclimate Instagram
Where climate change unites businesses, markets and politics. Browse FT coverage here