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    Global energy emissions hit new record in 2022


A reduction in natural gas-related emissions was more than offset by higher emissions from oil and coal.

by: NGW

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Global energy emissions hit new record in 2022

Global CO2 emissions from the energy sector inched up 0.9% in 2022 to reach a new record of 36.8bn metric tons, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported on March 3, in part as a result of soaring gas prices that led more countries to burn more coal.

Last year also saw a revival in oil demand, reflecting the impact of governments easing lockdowns and other COVID-19 measures. The latest rise follows a 6% increase in emissions in 2021, more than reversing the 5% decline seen in 2020, when COVID-19 measures were in full force.


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Despite reaching a new record, the IEA said emissions did not rise as much as had been feared, because of increased deployment of clean energy technologies such as renewables, electric vehicles and heat pumps, which prevented a combined 550mn mt of CO2 emissions.

On the other hand, emissions were also higher because of higher cooling and heating demand during extreme weather conditions, nuclear power plants being offline and a curtailment in industrial activity, particularly in China and Europe.

Emissions from natural gas were down 1.6%, with Europe driving this decline with a 13.5% reduction, having had to switch to alternative fuel sources to cope with the loss of Russian gas supply. Natural gas emissions in the Asia-Pacific region also dropped 1.8% – which the IEA noted was also unprecedented, given it is the fastest-growing gas market in the world.

Emissions from coal rose 1.6%, while emissions from oil increased by 2.5% – with half of that growth attributed to increased air travel compared with a pandemic low.

China's overall energy emissions were down 0.2% in 2022, while the EU's fell by 2.5%. US emissions were up 0.8%, while the Asian emerging markets and developing economies excluding China, saw the greatest growth in emissions – 4.2%.