Global Energy & CO2 Status Report 2018: the demand for energy is growing and a new record for CO2

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published the new "Global Energy & CO2 Status Report", the study dedicated to global energy consumption and CO2 emissions related to the energy sector.

The report shows that global energy consumption in 2018 has increased almost twice the average growth rate since 2010, driven mainly by a robust global economy and greater heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world.

Global energy demand growth was 2.3%, the fastest pace in this decade. This is an exceptional growth driven by a stable global economy and a greater need for heating and cooling in some regions.

However, the increase in energy demand was accompanied by a substantial increase in CO2 emissions: energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 1.7%, setting a new historical maximum of 33.1 Gt of CO2. It is estimated that almost a third of the increase in climate-changing emissions is attributable to the entry into operation of new coal-fired power plants, especially in Asia; where, in 2018, coal consumption grew by 0.7% compared to the previous year.

Demand for oil also increased, by 1.3% in 2018, driven by strong growth in the United States. The start of large petrochemical projects has driven the demand for products, which partially offset a slowdown in the growth of gasoline demand. The United States and China showed the greatest overall growth, while demand declined in Japan and Korea and remained stagnant in Europe.

Consumption of natural gas is also growing, driven by the growing demand for energy and the replacement of coal. The shift from coal to gas represented over a fifth of the increase in gas demand. The United States led the growth followed by China.

The demand for coal has grown for the second year, but its role in the global mix has continued to decline. Last year's 0.7% increase was significantly slower than the 4.5% annual growth rate recorded in the 2000-10 period. However, while the share of coal in the demand for primary energy and in the production of electricity continues to slowly decrease, it still remains the main source of electricity and the second largest source of primary energy.

Positive signals come from renewable energy, increased by 4% in 2018, representing almost a quarter of global energy demand growth. China remains the leader in the renewable energy sector, both for wind and solar, followed by Europe and the United States.

Positive signal but not sufficient to entirely satisfy the simultaneous increase in global electricity demand, as IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol stated, "despite the strong growth of renewable energies, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, demonstrating once again that more urgent and effective actions are needed in the long term ".


Global Energy & CO2 Status Report 2018: the demand for energy is growing and a new record for CO2