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IEA: Global energy demand grew by 2.1% in 2017, carbon emissions hit record high

22 March 2018

Global energy demand rose by 2.1% in 2017, more than twice the previous year’s rate, driven by strong global economic growth and the slowdown of energy efficiency improvements—according to the Global Energy and CO2 Status Report, a new resource from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA). Carbon dioxide emissions rose for the first time since 2014, reaching a new high of 32.5 gigatonnes.

Over 70% of global energy demand growth was met by fossil fuels—oil, natural gas and coal all increased in 2017. The growth of fossil fuel energy was complemented by continuing growth in renewables, meeting a quarter of world energy demand growth. As a result of these trends, global energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 1.4% in 2017, after three years of remaining flat.

Global energy demand in 2017 reached 14,050 Mtoe, compared with 10,035 Mtoe in 2000. Carbon emissions increased in most major economies, reflecting that economic growth remains the primary goal of the world’s economic-political system. However, several developed economies experienced declines. The biggest drop in emissions came from the United States, driven by higher renewables deployment, said the IEA. Other economies that experienced a decline in CO2 emissions include the United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan.

“The robust global economy pushed up energy demand last year, which was mostly met by fossil fuels, while renewables made impressive strides,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “The significant growth in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 tells us that current efforts to combat climate change are far from sufficient. For example, there has been a dramatic slowdown in the rate of improvement in global energy efficiency as policy makers have put less focus in this area.”

Other key findings of the report for 2017 include:

Global energy demand rose by 0.9% in 2016, and 0.9% on average over the previous five years.

Source: IEA