The International Energy Agency has summed up the results of 2018. They are disappointing: greenhouse gas emissions have reached record levels, and the demand for fossil fuels has increased. Humanity continues to pursue a suicidal policy.
The Paris Climate Agreement was signed more than three years ago, but humanity is in no hurry to fulfill its conditions. According to the report of the International Energy Agency, in 2018, 33.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide were emitted into the atmosphere. This is 1.7% more than a year earlier. Thus, greenhouse gas emissions have been growing for several years in a row.
The main reason for this growth is the increased demand for electricity, caused by rapid economic development in Asia and the USA.
70% of the total electricity consumption accounted for three countries – the United States, India and China. They are responsible for 85% increase in emissions.
In general, the global energy consumption in 2018 increased by 2.3%, which is two times more than the average since 2010. Nearly 70% of this growth is satisfied by fossil fuels, primarily natural gas. Its consumption in 2018 increased by 4.6%, oil – by 1.3%, and coal – by 0.7%. The consumption of coal, the most dangerous for climate fuels, has grown particularly rapidly in India and China – by about 5% in 2018. In the US, its consumption is declining, but this decline is offset by rising demand for gas and oil.
India is taking decisive steps towards transition to renewable energy. But the effect of them is not yet felt.
The refusal of US President Donald Trump to combat climate change led in 2018 to an increase in emissions of 3.1%. US policy is not only in itself threatening the global climate, but also serves as a negative example for other countries.
The report also noted some positive trends. The popularity of renewable energy has grown rapidly – for example, solar energy has grown by more than 30%, and wind energy – by 12%. Positive changes in energy efficiency were also noted. Unfortunately, the transition of a number of countries to clean energy was compensated by the growth in demand for fossil fuels.
Getting closer to disaster
Experts say that it is not worth expecting a serious drop in emissions in the near future. Although emissions stabilized during 2014–2016, they began to grow again in 2017. Breaking this trend and stopping the climate catastrophe will be even more difficult than it seemed before.
Experts of the World Economic Forum also note that the world economy is not rapidly moving to renewable energy. Although Europe shows excellent performance, Asia, the United States and developing countries are seriously lagging behind. There is a serious risk that the objectives of the Paris Agreement will not be fulfilled.