Last week the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its 2018 Global Energy and CO2 Status Report. The IEA is an intergovernmental organization of 30 member countries working to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy. A summary of the report’s findings is in the video below:
According to this report, global energy demand and consumption grew by 2.3% in 2018, which is nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010. China, the United States, and India accounted for almost 70% of this increase in energy demand. The use of fossil fuels grew as well, with the need for coal, oil, and natural gas increasing worldwide.
The report cites robust economic growth in the United States and Asia as one reason for the surge in energy demand. In addition, weather conditions in some regions can be blamed for an increase in energy consumption. Colder than average winters and hotter than average summers in 2018 were responsible for nearly one-fifth of the rise in global energy use due to the associated cooling and heating consumption.
The increase in energy usage resulted in a record increase in associated carbon dioxide emissions. The IEA’s report found that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.7% since 2017, marking the second year of emissions increases since the signing of the Paris climate agreement in 2016. Unfortunately, these increases push the world farther away from reaching the emissions cuts targeted by 2025 within the Paris Agreement.
The IEA’s Executive Director, Fatih Birol told E&E News, “We see that there is a growing disconnect between those calls and what is happening in the real markets…which brings us further to reach the climate targets which were established by several countries internationally.”
Luckily, the report wasn’t all bad news. The IEA’s report states that emissions declined in Germany, Japan, Mexico, France, and the United Kingdom. This decline is attributed to reductions in oil and coal consumption, in addition to an increase in renewable electricity generation.
The IEA report cites a 4% increase in renewables in 2018 with solar PV, hydropower, wind, and bioenergy accounting for the growth. Although this is an improvement, the report warns that “the use of renewables needs to expand much more quickly to be back on track to meet long term climate goals, cleaner air objectives, and aims to provide access to modern energy sources.”