Greenhouse gas emissions from energy production rose strongly again last year, according to new data from the International Energy Agency, with a young fleet of coal-fired power plants in Asia accounting for a large proportion of the increase.
Energy demand grew at its fastest pace this decade, with a 2.3% increase globally driving rises in fossil fuel consumption. Coal use in power stations was up by nearly a third, and together gas and coal were responsible for nearly 70% of the growth in energy consumption, and while demand for solar and wind power also increased, it was by much less overall.
Gas consumption in the US leapt by 10%, or the equivalent of the UK’s entire gas consumption in a year. Fracking has been a key driver, and oil production in the US also grew, while the dismantling of government incentives intended to reduce reliance on fossil fuels has continued.
Asia is now responsible for the majority of coal-fired power generation globally, and the average age of power plants there is now just 12 years, meaning they have decades to go before reaching their planned end of production in about 30 to 50 years.
Heating and cooling accounted for a fifth of the increase in global energy demand – the cooling needed for many areas to cope with global warming is an increasing factor in the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, as temperatures in some regions rose to record levels as the result of climate change. [Continue reading…]