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CO2 emissions in 2023 reached record high

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CO2 emissions in 2023 reached record high

A warning has been issued about our CO2 emissions. Namely from the International Energy Agency IEA. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions reached a record level in 2023. They must be drastically cut to prevent a global temperature rise – that is the message from the Paris-based regulator. But there is also good news when it comes to clean energy solutions. These are presented in the IEA’s first-ever “Clean Energy Market Monitor”.

New IEA report: CO2 emissions increased by 1.1 percent

CO2 emissions, which mainly arise from the combustion of fossil fuels, increased last year or even reached a record level according to the IEA. The IEA analysis found that a total of 37.4 billion tons of CO2 were emitted in 2023, an increase of 1.1 percent compared to the previous year. And although clean energy technologies such as wind and solar power and electric vehicles are doing their part to reduce CO2 emissions in advanced economies, the IEA says they are far from the global climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

2024: First “Clean Energy Market Monitor” launched

The report on renewable energies just published by the IEA shows that their global use will also reach a new high in 2023. Investment in renewable energy increased by almost 50 percent from 2019 to 2023. In 2023, a volume of 1.8 trillion US dollars was reached – an annual growth of around 10 percent. Specifically, according to the “Clean Energy Market Monitor” it looks like this: The annual expansion of PV and wind turbines rose by 85 percent and 60 percent respectively, with the largest part of this occurring in China. Apart from China and advanced economies, the rest of the world is still lagging far behind in clean energy. As far as sales of electric cars are concerned, they rose by around 35 percent worldwide in 2023. 14 million vehicles were sold. In China, one in three cars sold was electric, while in the European Union it was one in four.

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Extreme droughts as the main reason for increased emissions rates

That CO2 emissions increased in 2023, partly due to the revival of the Chinese economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the aviation sector has recovered, as can be read in the IEA report. Added to this are last year’s severe droughts in China, the United States, India and other countries, which hampered hydroelectric power generation. The droughts are said to be responsible for around 40 percent of the increase in CO2 emissions. “Without this effect, emissions from the global power sector would have declined in 2023,” says the IEA.

Breakthrough in renewable energies

Another special finding from the IEA analysis: 2023 is the first year in which at least half of the electricity generation in industrialized countries was generated by renewable energies and nuclear power. As a result, energy-related emissions fell by 4.1 percent in the USA and by as much as 9 percent in the European Union. Although emissions in China rose, according to the IEA, the country will be responsible for around 60 percent of the global expansion of solar and wind energy and electric vehicles in 2023. As dw.com reported, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented on the findings of the new report: “It is absolutely necessary that there is a much greater ambition in terms of reducing emissions, and that is essentially the case Responsibility of the G20 countries, which represent 80 percent of emissions.”

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