CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

10 takeaways from the IEA Global Energy & CO₂ Status Report

Climate news - News and opinions about climate science

Published 26.03.2019

Energy use grew 2.3% in 2018, energy-related CO₂ emissions 1.7%

All figures are from the  IEA Global Energy & CO₂ Status Report. Read the full report here. 

👉 Energy-related CO₂ emissions grew 1.7% in 2018, together with similar growth in 2017, putting an end to the close to zero growth from 2014 to 2016. The @gcarbonproject estimated growth of +2.0% (+1.2% to +3.3%), but this includes cement emissions (& using preliminary data).


👉 CO₂ Emissions rose because energy & climate policy could not overcome economic growth. The biggest factors pushing emissions down were energy efficiency & renewables, but they would have to be about three times larger to overcome economic growth.


👉 For the last 4 years now, the improvements in energy efficiency have weakened, leading to higher energy use. The IEA puts this down to weaker policy implementation & stronger growth in energy intensive economies. Improvements need to increase to over 3%/yr for a 2°C scenario.


👉 Global energy demand grew 2.3%, driven by gas, renewables, and oil, with much smaller contributions from coal and nuclear.


👉 Gas accounted for nearly half the growth in energy demand, much higher than the previous decade. The US was a key driver in 2018, but this is largely weather driven & may not increase so much in 2019. Even without US growth, China & other countries are pushing gas use up.


👉 Growth in oil demand was strong, at 1.3% in 2018, led by the US and China. The growth was driven by petrochemicals & freight in the US, but China may be seeing a weakening from very high growth rates.


👉 Coal demand rise modestly in 2018, at 0.7% growth. The big drops in coal use in 2015 and 2016 look like outliers in a more stable picture of low demand growth since 2012 (lower than the 2000's).


👉 While coal is slowly dwindling in advanced economies, it looks like the falls in China have stopped, and the growth in other Asian economies is continuing unabated. Too early to get excited about peak coal...


👉 Renewables continue to grow strongly in electricity production, with each year leading to stronger growth. However, the growth is still unable to overcome the growth in other fossil sources. Renewables are coming, but they still have a way to go to displace fossil growth...


👉 Global electricity demand grew 4% in 2018, & while renewables could cover about half that growth, coal & gas still play a very significant role. Electricity demand will continue to grow, but improvements in efficiency are still key to help renewables displace fossil fuels.


Read Glen Peters' twitter thread on the IEA report here.