July 17, 2024

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Energy emissions hit record high on rising fossil fuel demand, says report

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Greenhouse gas emissions from energy hit a record high last year as demand for fossil fuels rose despite a big increase in renewable power, according to a report that highlights the need to speed up the green transition.

Energy emissions increased 2 per cent in 2023 to exceed 40 gigatonnes of CO₂ equivalent for the first time, according to the Energy Institute’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

“Clean energy is still not even meeting the entirety of demand growth,” said Nick Wayth, chief executive of the London-based Energy Institute. “Arguably, the [energy] transition has not even started.”

Wayth highlighted the “lopsided” progress in the shift to renewable electricity generation, which rose 13 per cent from 2022 to hit a record 4,748 terawatt hours.

Fossil fuel use accelerated in high-growth countries such as India, but there were signs demand had reached a peak in Europe, the US and other advanced economies.

The report, which was published on Thursday, said global primary energy use climbed 2 per cent to a record 620 exajoules — 1EJ is equivalent to about 170mn barrels of oil. Fossil fuels’ share in the energy mix dipped only slightly by 0.4 percentage points to 81.5 per cent. Its proportion was 86 per cent in 1995.

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The data highlight the challenges seven months after countries at the COP28 conference in Dubai set ambitious targets to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels, in a bid to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Simon Virley, head of energy at KPMG, which co-authored the report, said it was “time to redouble our efforts on reducing carbon emissions and providing finance and capacity to build more low-carbon energy sources in the global south”.

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2024-06-19 19:01:26

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