Mar 9, 2022 - Energy & Environment
Carbon dioxide emissions hit record high last year
The world's energy-related CO2 emissions reached an all-time high in 2021, according to new data released by the International Energy Agency.
Why it matters: The emissions rebound after the COVID-related economic downturn is another sign that the global economic recovery has not been a "green" or sustainable one.
Between the lines: Global energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 6% in 2021 to reach 36.3 billion tonnes, which was the highest level on record.
- The year-to-year increase from 2020 to 2021 was the largest on record in absolute terms, the IEA found.
- The main culprit, according to the IEA, is the increased reliance on coal-fired power plants.
- The coal binge was largely driven by market conditions, including high natural gas prices.
Of note: When combined with data on methane emissions and other planet-warming gases, the analysis shows that overall greenhouse gas emissions from energy hit their highest level on record in 2021.