Dhe International Energy Agency (IEA) calls for faster energy transition as global carbon emissions from power generation remain at record levels. Global energy-related CO₂ emissions increased by 0.9 percent or 321 million tons in 2022 and reached a high of over 36.8 billion tons, the IEA announced on Thursday in Paris. In order to achieve climate and energy goals, increased measures to switch to clean energies are necessary. In 2021, the increase in CO₂ emissions worldwide was still six percent.
“The impact of the energy crisis has not led to the sharp rise in global emissions initially feared – thanks to outstanding growth in renewable energy, electric vehicles, heat pumps and energy-efficient technologies,” said IEA Director Fatih Birol. Without clean energy, the increase in CO₂ emissions would have been almost three times as high. “However, we still see emissions from fossil fuels increasing, which is hampering efforts to meet global climate targets.”
International and national companies that work with fossil fuels made record sales and had to take their share of the responsibility – according to their promises to achieve the climate goals, the IEA boss demanded. “It is vital that they review their strategies to ensure they are geared towards meaningful emissions reductions.”
Before the global climate strike by Fridays for Future this Friday, the activist Luisa Neubauer accused the governing coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP of being too hesitant about climate protection. “Instead of a progress coalition, we are currently experiencing a standstill coalition,” she said in the “Status of Things” podcast. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also sees Neubauer as having a duty: “We are still waiting for the Chancellor’s word of power on the climate crisis, to get started right.” So little is happening right now, so much is being blocked. That is fatal. Across Germany, Fridays for Future is planning more than 230 campaigns, in a good 40 cities together with Verdi. The union called for warning strikes that day.
For Germany, Fridays for Future demands, among other things, a coal phase-out by 2030, 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2035 and the immediate end of subsidies for fossil fuels and an expansion freeze for motorways.
According to the IEA, CO₂ emissions from coal increased by 1.6 percent last year as the global energy crisis triggered a switch from gas to coal in Asia and, to a lesser extent, in Europe. Natural gas emissions fell 1.6 percent as supply tightened after Russia invaded Ukraine and European companies and citizens sought to reduce gas consumption.
The CO₂ emissions from oil rose even more than those from coal, namely by 2.5 percent. However, they are still below pre-pandemic levels. Air travel, which continued to recover from the pandemic, accounted for about half of the year-on-year increase in oil emissions, according to the IEA.
In China, carbon dioxide emissions remained broadly flat in 2022 as strict Covid-19 measures and a slowdown in construction activity would have led to weaker economic growth and reduced emissions from industry and transport. In the EU, emissions fell by 2.5 percent as record use of renewable energy helped coal consumption not be as high as observers had expected. A mild start to the European winter and energy saving measures in response to the Russian invasion also contributed.
In the United States, emissions increased by 0.8 percent as extreme temperatures increased energy consumption in buildings. Excluding China, emissions in emerging and developing Asia rose 4.2 percent, reflecting rapid economic growth and higher energy demand, according to the IEA.