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IEA: Carbon Emissions Break Record in 2018



Carbon emissions reached 33.1 gigatons last year and beat their previous record, although the annual increase was relatively modest, at 1.7 percent, the International Energy Agency said in its new global energy and CO2 status report.

The disappointing rise came in the middle of an even stronger push towards a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy came behind a new addition to developing countries' coal production capacity in Asia. This growth resulted in coal accounting for 30 percent of all energy-related CO2 emissions last year. In addition, the new coal-fired power plant in Asia adds more than offsetting plant closures in other parts of the world.

Despite the somewhat depressing data, which at least should not be surprising, there was some good news as well. The demand for energy increased by 2.3 percent last year, which was almost double the average annual growth rate for the period since 201

0, the IEA noted, but most of the higher demand was satisfied with energy sources cleaner than coal and oil.

Gas was the fastest growing growing energy source in 2018, accounting for nearly 45 percent of the increased energy demand. Oil demand also rose, but not so impressive. In total, fossil fuels covered approx. 70 percent of the higher demand for energy.

Meanwhile, the adoption of renewable energy grew at a double-digit rate, which was certainly encouraging. Unfortunately, this growth in new renewable plants could not keep up with the pace of rising energy demand. However, solar, wind and other renewable energy sources currently covered 25 per cent of the primary energy requirement last year. This was due to several sustained power generation grants: In electricity generation, renewable energy accounted for 45 percent of demand growth in 2018.

The IEA noted that electricity is becoming "fuel of the future", which is likely to drive further renewable energy energy adoption in the coming years. Still, the demand for fossil fuels will remain with gas leading the way as the cleanest of fossil fuels.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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