Feb 11, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Global CO2 emissions were flat in 2019

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

An IEA analysis released Monday found that energy-related CO2 emissions were flat last year at 33.3 gigatonnes.

Why it matters: Scientific analyses show that steep cuts — not just a plateau — are needed to meet the temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement.

The big picture: The finding came despite "widespread expectations of another increase" following growth in 2017 and 2018, IEA said.

  • It is roughly consistent with separate analysis from a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project (which also looks at cement industry emissions).
  • They estimated in December that energy-related emissions growth slowed last year to 0.6%. (One of that report's authors has a very helpful Twitter thread this morning.)

What they're saying: In a statement, IEA boss Fatih Birol said, "We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth."

  • "We have the energy technologies to do this, and we have to make use of them all," Birol added, noting IEA is seeking to build a "grand coalition" to boost global focus on emissions cuts.

Where it stands: IEA, explaining why overall emissions were flat, cited a "sharp decline" in CO2 from the power sector in advanced economies as renewables, gas and higher nuclear output shove coal aside.

  • "Global CO2 emissions from coal use declined by almost 200 million tonnes (Mt), or 1.3%, from 2018 levels, offsetting increases in emissions from oil and natural gas," they note.
  • However, emissions outside of the advanced economies kept growing, with most of the increase occurring in Asia as coal use there keeps rising.

Go deeper: Energy emissions stall as rich nations kick their coal habit (Bloomberg)

Go deeper

Exclusive: IEA to track oil companies’ efforts on clean energy

Data: International Energy Agency; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The world’s oil and gas companies will undergo annual reviews by the International Energy Agency to assess how they’re doing on climate change and clean energy issues.

Driving the news: The group released a report on Sunday showing that oil and gas producers, including those owned by governments, spend on average just 1% of their total capital expenditure outside oil and gas.

Go deeperArrowJan 20, 2020

Why India needs cheap batteries

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new International Energy Agency analysis highlights the importance of battery storage paired with renewables in helping to decarbonize power.

Why it matters: India, the focus of the analysis, is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter (after China and the U.S.) and suffers from terrible air quality problems.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

Dominion joins power giants' net-zero carbon emissions push

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

The huge utility Dominion Energy vowed Tuesday to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Virginia-headquartered Dominion has ranked among the country's 10 largest power generators and operates in 18 states.