Energy & Environment

IEA predicts 5 percent rise in global CO2 emissions from energy this year

The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday said that global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase by 5 percent in 2021, the second largest jump in history. 

The intergovernmental organization in its Global Energy Review 2021 unveiled the predicted emissions increase, which was previously anticipated following a drop in 2020 amid pandemic lockdown orders and economic slowdowns that decreased production. 

However, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said Tuesday that the agency’s prediction of emissions surging by 1.5 billion tons this year is “a dire warning that the economic recovery from the Covid crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate.” 

“Unless governments around the world move rapidly to start cutting emissions, we are likely to face an even worse situation in 2022,” Birol noted in a statement along with Tuesday’s report.

He added that this Thursday’s Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by President Biden “is a critical moment to commit to clear and immediate action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow,” referring to the 26th United Nations climate change conference scheduled for November. 

Tuesday’s report noted that the anticipated increase in carbon dioxide emissions will likely be driven by the resurgence of coal use in the power sector as stimulus packages and vaccine rollouts fuel global economic recovery, with global economic output expected to increase by 6 percent in 2021, according to the IEA. 

Amid this recovery, the IEA predicted that global energy demand will increase by 4.6 percent this year, more than offsetting the 4 percent decrease in 2020. 

Demand for fossil fuels specifically is likely to substantially increase in 2021, with the IEA noting that coal demand alone is expected to surge by 60 percent more than all renewable energy sources combined. 

The IEA said Tuesday that more than 80 percent of the projected increase in coal demand this year is expected to come from China and other Asian countries. 

While coal use is also expected to rise in 2021 in the U.S. and across European Union countries, the IEA said that this will likely remain below pre-pandemic levels. 

The report comes as the Biden administration is expected to announce its greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030 under the Paris climate agreement. 

The announcement will likely come on Thursday alongside the climate summit, and the target will set guidelines for future domestic emissions policy, as well as signal the country’s commitment to combating climate change and lowering greenhouse gases. 

The Obama administration under the Paris agreement had committed to reducing U.S. emissions by between 26 percent and 28 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2025.

Tags biden administration carbon dioxide emissions carbon emission China coronavirus pandemic greenhouse gas emisisons International Energy Agency Joe Biden Paris agreement United States
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