Global energy-related CO2 emissions hit record high in 2023 – IEA

Global emissions from energy rose by 410 million tonnes, or 1.1%, in 2023 to 37.4 billion tonnes, hitting a record hight

Energy-related CO2 emissions in the world hit record high - IEA

Smoke billows from a chimney at a combined-cycle gas turbine power plant while coinciding the COP28 is being held in Dubai, in Drogenbos, Belgium December 6, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman - RC2SR4AOL6OM


Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) hit a record high last year, driven partly by increased fossil fuel use in countries where droughts hampered hydropower production, International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.

Steep cuts in CO2 emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, will be needed in the coming years if targets to limit a global rise in temperatures and prevent runaway climate change are to be met, scientists have said.

“Far from falling rapidly – as is required to meet the global climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement – CO2 emissions reached a new record high,” the IEA said in a report.

Global emissions from energy rose by 410 million tonnes, or 1.1%, in 2023 to 37.4 billion tonnes, the IEA analysis showed.

A global expansion in clean technology such as wind, solar and electric vehicles helped to curb emissions growth, which was 1.3% in 2022. But a reopening of China’s economy, increased fossil fuel use in countries with low hydropower output and a recovery in the aviation sector led to an overall rise, the IEA said in its report.

Moves to replace lost hydropower generation due to extreme droughts accounted for around 40% of the emissions rise, or 170 million tonnes of CO2, it said.

“Without this effect, emissions from the global electricity sector would have fallen in 2023,” the IEA said.

Energy-related emissions in the United States fell by 4.1% with the bulk of the reduction coming from the electricity sector, according to the report.

In the European Union emissions from energy fell by almost 9% last year driven by a surge in renewable power generation and a slump in both coal and gas power generation.

In China, emissions from energy rose by 5.2%, with energy demand growing as the country recovered from COVID-19-related lockdowns, the report said.

China, however, also contributed around 60% of global additions of solar, wind power and electric vehicles in 2023, the IEA said.

Globally electric vehicles accounted for one-in-five new car sales in 2023, reaching 14 million and up 35% on the level of 2022.

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