Global energy-related CO2 emissions ‘hit highest level in history in 2021’

Increased use of coal was the main factor driving up emissions by over two billion tonnes, according to the IEA

Big Zero Report 2022

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose to a record high last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said.

The analysis suggests emissions increased by 6% in 2021 to 36.3 billion tonnes, their highest ever level, as the world economy rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The IEA notes the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions of more than two billion tonnes was the largest in history in absolute terms.

Coal accounted for almost 40% of the overall growth in global carbon dioxide emissions, reaching an all-time high of 15.3 billion tonnes.

Emissions from natural gas rebounded well above their 2019 levels to 7.5 billion tonnes, according to the report.

At 10.7 billion tonnes, carbon dioxide emissions from oil remained below pre-pandemic levels.

The authors of the report noted that was because of the limited recovery in global transport activity in 2021, mainly in the aviation sector.

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