Mar 22, 2018

Global carbon emissions hit record high in 2017

United States
by
Nina Chestney
,
Reuters
Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility ESKOM near Sasolburg, South Africa, March 2, 2016. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters
Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility ESKOM near Sasolburg, South Africa, March 2, 2016. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters

Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons last year, after three years of being flat, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

Global energy demand rose by 2.1 percent last year to 14,050 million tonnes of oil equivalent, more than twice the previous year’s rate, boosted by strong economic growth, according to preliminary estimates from the IEA.

Energy demand rose by 0.9 percent in 2016 and 0.9 percent on average over the previous five years.

Over 70 percent of global energy demand growth was met by oil, natural gas and coal, while renewables accounted for almost all of the rest, the IEA said in a report.

Improvements in energy efficiency slowed last year. As a result of these trends, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.4 percent in 2017 to 32.5 gigatons, a record high.

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Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global average temperature rise, which countries are seeking to curb to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.