New Delhi: Carbon emissions rose to a record high in 2018 as demand for energy soared in countries such as the US, China and India, pointing to a seeming neglect of global warming concerns as nations chased ever-faster economic growth.
Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.7% in 2018, the highest rate of growth since 2013, and 70% higher than the average increase since 2010, says a report published by Paris-based International Energy Agency on Tuesday.
In India, emissions rose by 4.8%, although the nation’s per capita release remained low at only 40% of the global average, says the report. India recorded a 4% rise in energy demand, led by coal (power generation) and oil (transport), the two biggest contributors to pollution.
The findings raise questions about the effectiveness of the global fight against climate change amid rising energy demand.
Despite being the single-largest carbon emitter, coal usage grew more than any other source of generation in 2018. Global coal demand continued to rise for a second year.
China, India and the US accounted for 85% of the net increase in emissions that was largely fuelled by higher electricity demand, contributing to nearly two-thirds of emissions growth. India also had the largest share of energy consumption after China and the US.
According to the report, a robust global economy that expanded by 3.7% in 2018 propelled higher energy demands, but extreme weather conditions accounted for almost a fifth of the increase in global energy demand. Average winter and summer temperatures in some regions exceeded historical records, spurring energy demand.
“CO2 emissions stagnated between 2014 and 2016 due to strong energy efficiency improvements and low carbon technologies, leading to a decline in coal demand. But the dynamics changed in 2017 and 2018. Higher economic growth was not met by higher energy productivity and lower-carbon options did not scale fast enough to meet the rise in demand,” says the report.