IEA predicts substantially higher emissions this year than last, but still slightly below pre-pandemic levels
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Combustion Industry News Editor
The International Energy Agency has released its predictions for energy use and carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions for this year. Energy demand is expected to rise 4.6%, pushing demand 0.5% above pre-pandemic levels, with absolute demand rising 3.4% in developing economies but falling by 3.0% in developed economies. This reflects an expected 6% increase in global economic activity this year, to reach in absolute terms a level 2% higher than in 2019. A rise in fossil fuel use is expected to mean a rise in CO2 emissions of 5% in 2021 from 2020 levels, leaving them 1.2% below 2019 levels – this threatens that a further rise in CO2-equivalent emissions next year could mean that 2019 will not be a global peak in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, as still remains possible. Oil demand, which is expected to rise 6.2% this year, is expected to finish 3% lower than in 2019, primarily because of less road transport, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to flare up across the world and travel restrictions being implemented. Natural gas use in 2021 is expected to be 1% higher than in 2019. In more encouraging news for greenhouse gas emissions, renewables demand increased by 3% in 2020 and is expected to increase in the power sector by a considerable 8% this year, and the share of renewables in electricity generation is expected to reach 30% by the end of the year, up from 27% in 2019.