Carbon emissions reach record high worldwide in 2018

Carbon emissions reach record high worldwide in 2018

Carbon emissions reach record high worldwide in 2018

Carbon emissions reached 33.1 gigatons a year ago, breaking their previous record even though the annual increase was relatively modest, at 1.7 percent, the International Energy Agency said in its new Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.

Energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 1.7 percent to 33.1 billion tonnes from the previous year, the highest rate of growth since 2013, with the power sector accounting for nearly two-thirds of this growth, according to IEA estimates. It also means emissions have risen in each of the first two full years since the signing of the Paris climate agreement, leaving the world far short of the 26% to 28% cut in emissions targeted by 2025.

Carbon emissions rose to a record high in 2018 as demand for energy soared in countries such as the US, China and India, pointing to a seeming neglect of global warming concerns as nations chased ever-faster economic growth.

Global energy consumption grew 2.3 per cent in 2018, almost twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy as well as higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world. Renewables and nuclear power met the majority of the growth in demand.

But despite the growth in fossil fuel demand, per capita emissions in India remain low at 40 per cent of the global average.

Even as its place in the energy mix has fallen, coal is still responsible for a third of global Carbon dioxide emissions linked to energy, according to the IEA.

Robert Jackson, a professor who tracks energy and climate policy at Stanford University, said the findings reflect the confluence of several long-term trends that could prod emissions even higher in the future.

"About a fifth of the growth in electricity demand past year can be attributed to weather conditions", it says. The world's largest economies have increased their use of fossil fuels despite global efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and the U.S.is among the countries leading the way. We wondered if it was a blip.

CO2 emissions are the main driving force behind global warming, which scientists fear could spiral out of control unless drastic action is taken to reduce global emissions.

There were some positives in the report for climate hawks, said Nathan Hultman, director of the University of Maryland's Center for Global Sustainability in College Park and a former Obama administration official.

While extreme weather events were seen worldwide last year-Europe sweated through a record-breaking summer heat wave, months after a cold snap brought blizzards to the Mediterranean-the impact on demand was the most extreme in the USA, according to the IEA.

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.

"You have the solutions at hand", Hultman said. That increase was the largest jump in gas demand since the early 1950s-equivalent to adding the entire annual gas consumption of the United Kingdom in just a single year. That spike was complemented by strong demand for oil, especially from the petrochemical sector.

Demand for all fuels increased, with fossil fuels meeting almost 70 per cent of the growth for the second year running.

Natural gas consumption grew 4.6 per cent in 2018, or 170 billion cubic meter (BCM), its strongest increase since 2010 when gas demand was rebounding from the 2008 global financial crisis. Globally, coal plants are being shut down one after another and strong commitments are being made by leaders in the global "North". Rising emissions in the United States will only make achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement more hard, she said. USA emissions grew 3.1 percent in 2018, reversing decreases in 2016 and 2017.

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