• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Renewables, EVs, heat pumps restrain CO2 emissions in 2022 – IEA

Renewables, EVs, heat pumps restrain CO2 emissions in 2022 – IEA

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by less than one percent in 2022—less than initially feared—as the growth of solar, wind, electric vehicles (EVs), heat pumps, and energy efficiency helped limit the impacts of increased use of coal and oil amid the global energy crisis, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The energy agency said that although the rise in emissions last year was far smaller than the exceptional jump of over six percent in 2021, emissions remain on an unsustainable growth trajectory.

“This calls for stronger actions to accelerate the clean energy transition and move the world towards meeting its energy and climate goals, the IEA said.

According to IEA, global energy-related CO2 emissions grew in 2022 by 0.9 percent, 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 percent, 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 energy agency said.

“Extreme weather events, including droughts and heatwaves, as well as an unusually large number of nuclear power plants being offline, contributed to the rise in emissions. But the increased deployment of clean energy technologies avoided an additional 550 million tonnes of emissions.”

Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said that the impacts of the energy crisis did not result in the major increase in global emissions that was initially feared – thanks to the outstanding growth of renewables, EVs, heat pumps and energy-efficient technologies.

“Without clean energy, the growth in CO2 emissions would have been nearly three times as high. However, we still see emissions growing from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to meet the world’s climate targets,” Birol said.

Read also: Sterling Bank begins powering headquarters solely on solar energy

“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. They must review their strategies to ensure they’re aligned with meaningful emissions reductions.”

IEA further said that CO2 emissions from coal grew by 1.6 percent as the global energy crisis continued to spur a wave of gas-to-coal switching in Asia, and to a lesser degree in Europe. While the increase in coal emissions was only around one-quarter of 2021’s rise, it still far exceeded the last decade’s average growth rate.

“The increase in emissions from coal more than offset the 1.6 percent 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 energy agency said.

“CO2 emissions from oil grew even more than those from coal, increasing by 2.5 percent 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.”

IEA added that 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.

In addition, the European Union’s emissions fell by 2.5 percent, thanks to a record deployment of renewables that helped 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 percent as buildings increased their energy consumption to cope with extreme temperatures, the IEA said.

The organisation noted that “Excluding China, emissions from Asia’s emerging and developing economies increased by 4.2 percent, reflecting their rapid economic and energy demand growth.”

The global energy agency added that emissions from industry declined by 1.7 percent to 9.2 gigatons last year.

“While several regions saw manufacturing curtailments, the global decline was largely driven by a 161 metric tons of CO2 decrease in China’s industry emissions, reflecting a 10 percent decline in cement production and a 2% decline in steel making, the IEA said.