The report said energy emissions reached a record high due to growing demand for fossil fuels

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Greenhouse gas emissions from energy hit a record high last year as demand for fossil fuels increased despite rising demand, according to a report highlighting the need to accelerate the green transition. large increase in renewable energy.

According to the Energy Institute’s Statistical Assessment of World Energy, energy emissions increased by 2% in 2023, exceeding 40 gigatons of CO₂ equivalent for the first time.

“Clean energy is not even close to meeting all of the demand growth,” said Nick Wayth, chief executive of the London-based Energy Institute. “It could be argued that [energy] The transition hasn’t even begun.”

Wayth highlighted “disproportionate” progress in the transition to renewable electricity generation, increasing 13% from 2022 to reach a record 4,748 terawatt hours.

Fossil fuel use is growing rapidly in high-growth countries like India, but there are signs that demand has peaked in Europe, the US and other advanced economies.

The report released on Thursday said global primary energy use rose 2% to a record 620 exajoules – 1EJ equivalent to about 170 million barrels of oil. The market share of fossil fuels in the energy structure only decreased slightly by 0.4 percentage points to 81.5%. Its ratio was 86% in 1995.

The data highlights the challenges seven months after countries attended the COP28 conference in Dubai Set ambitious goals to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Simon Virley, head of energy at KPMG, who co-authored the report, said it was time to “redouble our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and provide the finance and capacity to building more low-carbon energy sources in the global south.”

This year’s report shows that the share of fossil fuels in Europe’s energy mix fell below 70% for the first time since the industrial revolution, as the continent continues to cut its dependence on gas. of Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and its gradual phasing out of coal.

“It would take a sudden major change for Europe to get back on track,” Wayth said.

In the US, coal consumption fell 17%, helping push the country’s total fossil fuel use down 2 percentage points to just over 80% of primary energy consumption.

Both economies “show clear signs of peak or post-peak fossil fuel demand,” Wayth said.

In contrast, India’s fossil fuel use grew 8%, with coal consumption surpassing combined usage in North America and Europe for the first time.

Although the country is on track to meet its targets for building new renewable energy capacity, this is “not enough to meet the overall increase in electricity demand,” Wayth said.

In China, which accounts for about 30% of global energy, fossil fuel consumption rose 6% to a new high of 139 EJ.

However, the country has been quick to deploy renewable energy, with new solar and wind capacity accounting for 63% of global installed capacity last year. This is also where half of the world’s large energy storage batteries are located.

Overall, the share of fossil fuels in China’s primary energy mix has decreased over the past decade, reaching 81.6% in 2023.

Wayth said China’s rapid growth in renewable energy pointed to a “potential inflection point”, which could see clean energy sources meet growing electricity demand by 2027 and exceed that level by 2030.

Petroleum giant BP published the Statistical Review of World Energy for more than 70 years before the Energy Institute, which represents experts in the field, took over producing the report in last year.

Data visualization by Clara Murray

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