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Are renewables reining in carbon emissions?

April 7, 2023

According to a new report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), apparently yes. The study found that global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by under 1% in 2022 – less than initially feared – as the growth of solar, wind, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficiency helped limit the impacts of increased use of coal and oil amid the global energy crisis. 

The IEA also informed that Europe’s emissions fell by 2.5% last year, thanks to the rollout of renewables and power-saving measures to cut the use of Russian gas.

Despite the good news – the rise in emissions last year was far smaller than the exceptional jump of over 6% in 2021 –, emissions still remain on an unsustainable growth trajectory, calling for stronger actions to accelerate the clean energy transition and move the world onto a path towards meeting its energy and climate goals.

“The impacts of the energy crisis didn’t result in the major increase in global emissions that was initially feared – and this is thanks to the outstanding growth of renewables, EVs, heat pumps and energy-efficient technologies. Without clean energy, the growth in CO2 emissions would have been nearly three times as high,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “However, we still see emissions growing from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to meet the world’s climate targets. International and national fossil fuel companies are making record revenues and need to take their share of responsibility, in line with their public pledges to meet climate goals. It’s critical that they review their strategies to make sure they’re aligned with meaningful emissions reductions.”

The EU has pledged to cut emissions by 55% (compared to 1990 levels) by the end of the decade. The US and UK have similar targets. 

Source: IEA | Positive News