The world’s insatiable appetite for electricity is setting up a climate disaster

A report published by the International Energy Agency on Friday found that global electricity demand rose 6% in 2021, driven by the cold winter and the dramatic economic recovery from the pandemic. This pushed prices and carbon emissions to new highs.
Demand growth was particularly intense in China, where it jumped about 10%.

The report contains the report . Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said A stark warning for the future.

Electricity has a critical role in fighting climate change as countries give up fossil fuels and more batteries Cars collided with the road. But so far, it has not kept pace with renewables – unlike power plants that burn coal or natural gas -.

Electricity from renewables grew 6% globally last year, while coal-fired generation jumped 9% due to rising demand and rising natural gas prices, making it look like a more attractive option.

As a result, carbon dioxide emissions from power generation rose by 7%, reaching an all-time high after declining in the past two years.

“Not only does this highlight how far we are currently off track from a path to net-zero emissions by 2050, but it also underscores the massive changes needed for the electricity sector to play its critical role in decarbonizing the broader energy system,” Birol said. in the current situation.

In the United States, coal-fired electricity generation rose 19% in 2021. The increase is likely to be temporary, with coal production expected to decline by about 6% annually between 2022 and 2024, according to the International Energy Agency.

There is some good news: The rapid expansion of renewable energy capacity should be enough to cover the vast majority of growth in global electricity demand through 2024.

However, emissions will still be high.

The International Energy Agency has found that emissions from the energy sector will “remain around the same level from 2021 to 2024”, although they need to fall “sharply” so the world can limit global warming to 1.5°C and avoid the worst effects of climate change. . .

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