CO2 up as global energy demand soars

29 March, 2019, 18:08 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Coal power stations are stalling progress towards a greener energy system

Dr Fatih Birol, head of the IEA, said the results expose a "vicious cycle" as the effects of global warming become a cause of higher energy consumption.

Global coal demand totaled 3.778 billion tons of oil equivalent (Btoe) in 2018, up 0.7% on the year, bolstered largely by increased use in India and Southeast Asia, according to data released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency.

"This marked the first time since the start of the shale revolution that gas demand has grown at the expense of coal while gas prices increased", the IEA said.

Demand for all fuels increased, with fossil fuels meeting almost 70 percent of the growth for the second year running. The annual increase in United States demand in 2018 was equivalent to the UK's current gas consumption.

Another discouraging trend given efforts to tame global warming was a slowdown a year ago in energy efficiency gains to 1.3 percent, only half the average improvement rate for the 2014-2017 period. The report has further identified that the global energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 1.7 per cent to 33 gigatonnes in 2018.

Emissions reached 33 billion gigatonnes, with coal power accounting for a third of the rise due to a fleet of new coal plants in Asia.

The UK's carbon emissions fell by three per cent previous year, thanks largely to the ongoing decline in coal power in the country's electricity system.

The IEA says that there is expanding use of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.

The global electricity demand grew by four per cent in 2018, thus pushing electricity towards a 20 per cent share in total final consumption of energy.

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The growth in India was led by coal for power generation and oil for transport. "China remains the leader in renewables, both for wind and solar, followed by Europe and the United States", the IEA stated. "Last year's 0.7 percent increase was significantly slower than the 4.5 percent annual growth rate seen in the period 2000-10", the report indicated.

If the world is going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Similarly to 2017, fossil fuels made up for almost 70% of the total demand.

The International Energy Agency is calling for an increase in efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Rising energy demand in the USA was partially caused by the impact of weather conditions, the IEA explained, as extreme temperatures made cooling and heating systems more important for Americans. Global energy consumption was up 2.3% in 2018, roughly double the average annual growth rate since 2010.

China added more than six times the amount of renewable energy to its grid than the United States did - but even that is nowhere near enough to offset continued investment in fossil fuels. In China, it increased by nearly 18 per cent. India's emissions grew by 4.8 percent.

The world's three largest energy intensive countries, China, the United States, and India, together accounted for almost 70% of the rise in global energy demand.

Nuclear energy generation rose 3.3 per cent in 2018 to levels last seen before the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in March, 2011.

Energy demand grew 2.3 percent a year ago, the most in a decade, according to the IEA.

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