Global energy industry emissions continue to rise

29th June 2023

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Chris Seekings

Despite a strong increase in renewable energy capacity, emissions from the global power sector continued to rise last year, new data shows.

The findings from the Energy Institute (EI) show that fossil fuels again accounted for 82% of energy consumption in 2022, with the power sector's greenhouse gas emissions rising by 0.8%.

Coal remained the dominant fuel for power generation, with a stable share around 35.4%, marginally down from 35.8% in 2021, while natural gas accounted for 23%.

A more positive finding was that wind and solar reached a record high share of 12%, with renewables – excluding hydro – meeting 84% of net electricity demand growth in 2022.

Despite further strong growth for wind and solar, EI president, Juliet Davenport, said that "we are still heading in the opposite direction to that required by the Paris Agreement”.

She added: “2022 saw some of the worst ever impacts of climate change – the devastating floods affecting millions in Pakistan, the record heat events across Europe and North America – yet we have to look hard for positive news on the energy transition in this new data.”

Overall, the data shows that global electricity generation increased by 2.3% in 2022, which was lower than the previous year’s growth rate of 6.2%.

Oil consumption continued to increase, rising by 2.9 million barrels per day to 97.3 million barrels per day, although this was a smaller increase than seen between 2020 and 2021, with consumption remaining 0.7% below 2019 levels.

Natural gas prices reached record levels in Europe and Asia, rising nearly threefold in the former, and doubling in the latter. The findings also show that coal prices reached record levels in 2022.

Simon Virley, head of energy and natural resources at KPMG in the UK, which co-produced the data, said that the findings are essential reading for policymakers around the world.

He added: "Despite record growth in renewables, the share of world energy still coming from fossil fuels remains stubbornly stuck at 82%, which should act as a clarion call for governments to inject more urgency into the energy transition."

Image credit: Shutterstock


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