Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Around the World Reach Historic High in 2022: Study

By Outlook Planet Desk March 03, 2023

The analysis reveals that renewable energy did its best to offset world wide emissions which were not as high as initially anticipated

Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Around the World Reach Historic High in 2022: Study
There are options available in every sector to halve the carbon emissions by 2030. Photo: AP

In 2022, world CO2 emissions from energy increased by 0.9% or 321 Mt (metric tonnes), setting a new record of over 36.8 Gt. The recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic-related extreme fluctuations in energy demand and emissions that lasted for two years was partially responsible for the significantly slower rise of last year compared to more than 6% recovery in 2021. Although industrial process emissions declined by 102 Mt, energy combustion emissions rose by 423 Mt.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is out with its latest report ‘CO2 Emissions In 2022’ which gives a detailed overview of the energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2022. 

The report has revealed that although more clean technology, such as solar energy and electric vehicles, helped lessen the impact of rising coal and oil use, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions reached a new high last year. 

The CO2 emissions from coal increased by 1.6% or 243 Mt amidst the wave of gas-to-coal switching, during the global energy crisis, exceeding the average growth rate over the previous decade and reaching a new all-time high of over 15.5 Gt. 

When compared to coal, oil emissions increased by 2.5%, or 268 Mt, to reach 11.2 Gt. The aviation industry accounted for around half of the growth as air travel rebounded from pandemic lows and approached 80% of 2019 levels. This increase was moderated by the ongoing growth of electric vehicles, which sold over 10 million vehicles in 2022, accounting for more than 14% of worldwide auto sales, according to the new IEA report. 

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol expressed that the impacts of the energy crisis didn’t result in the major increase in global emissions that was initially feared  due to the growth of renewables, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficient technologies. “Without clean energy, the growth in CO2 emissions would have been nearly three times as high. However, we still see emissions growing from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to meet the world’s climate targets. International and national fossil fuel companies are making record revenues and need to take their share of responsibility, in line with their public pledges to meet climate goals. It’s critical that they review their strategies to make sure they’re aligned with meaningful emissions reductions,” said Birol. 

There was a significant increase in renewable energy sources. 90% of the increase in electricity production worldwide, last year, was met by renewable energy. A new annual record was set by an increase in generation from wind and solar PV of almost 275 TWh each. 

The sector with the largest rise in emissions in 2022 was electricity and heat generating, with a 1.8% or 261 Mt increase in emissions. Coal-fired electricity and heat generation emissions increased globally by 224 Mt or 2.1%, with growing nations in Asia leading the way. 

With the exception of China, emissions from emerging markets and developing economies in Asia increased by 4.2% or 206 Mt CO2 in 2022, outpacing emissions from all other regions. The region's emissions increased by more than half as a result of coal-fired power generation.