Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew 1.7% in 2018 to reach a historic high of 33.1 Gt CO2. It was the highest rate of growth since 2013, and 70% higher than the average increase since 2010. Last year’s growth of 560 Mt was equivalent to the total emissions from international aviation.
The increase in emissions was driven by higher energy consumption resulting from a robust global economy, as well as from weather conditions in some parts of the world that led to increased energy demand for heating and cooling.
CO2 emissions stagnated between 2014 and 2016, even as the global economy continued to expand. This decoupling was primarily the result of strong energy efficiency improvements and low-carbon technology deployment, leading to a decline in coal demand. But the dynamics changed in 2017 and 2018. Higher economic growth was not met by higher energy productivity, lower-carbon options did not scale fast enough to meet the rise in demand.
The result was that CO2 emissions increased by nearly 0.5% for every 1% gain in global economic output compared with an increase of 0.3% on average since 2010. Renewables and nuclear energy have nonetheless made an impact, with emissions growing 25% slower than energy demand in 2018.
Through our Investment in the decarbonisation of the energy mix we aim to tackle these environmental issues and develop solutions that can scale rapidly, having a replenishing impact on the earth.