Newsletter of the International Energy Agency
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Global CO2 emissions this year are set for their second-biggest increase in history
The dramatic halt in economic activity last year because of the pandemic caused only a brief dip in global carbon dioxide emissions. But this year, global energy demand is set to grow strongly, with both coal and gas use set to rise above 2019 levels, according to our latest real-time data and estimates for 2021.
 
As a result, energy-related CO2 emissions are on course to surge by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021, the second largest increase in history, reversing most of last year's decline. The growth is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by governments around the world in reaching their emissions reduction targets.

According to our Global Energy Review 2021, this year's expected rise in coal use dwarfs that of renewables by almost 60%, even as electricity generation from renewables is set to leap by more than 8%. More than 80% of the projected growth in coal use is set to come from Asia, led by China. Coal use in the United States and the European Union will remain well below pre-crisis levels.

Renewables are due to provide a record 30% of electricity generation in 2021, up from less than 27% in 2019. Oil use is also recovering but will stay below 2019 levels, largely because the aviation sector is expected to remain depressed this year. Explore the full report and read our press release.
Gap between climate rhetoric and action is highlighted at US Climate Leaders’ Summit
The growth in carbon emissions this year provided a stark background for the Leaders Summit on Climate, which was hosted by US President Joe Biden over two days last week. Our Executive Director Fatih Birol spoke on Friday and stressed the need to back up pledges to cut emissions with credible policy actions.
 
His stark comments was picked up by US Presidential Special Climate Envoy John Kerry, who spoke after him. "As Dr Birol warned us, we are not getting the job done. The test is not the rhetoric, as Dr Birol said, it's if we can buckle down and get this done."

During his speech, Dr Birol told the Summit that a complete transformation of the energy sector was required to reach net-zero emissions, and that about half the technologies needed to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century aren't yet market ready, highlighting the need for major leaps in clean energy innovation.
 
He also revealed one of the findings from our upcoming roadmap to net zero emissions, which will be released next month. If countries worldwide pursue net-zero emissions by 2050, low-carbon investment opportunities are set to triple over the next decade alone. The report, Net Zero in 2050: A roadmap for the global energy system, will be released on 18 May.
 
Watch Dr Birol's remarks, read a transcript of his speech and his commentary, and find out more about the event.
The world has a vast capacity to store CO2, and we'll need to use it
Carbon capture, utilisation and storage – or CCUS for short – is a key pillar in successfully transitioning to a clean energy system. This group of technologies not only directly reduce emissions in critical economic sectors, but also remove carbon dioxide emissions that can't be avoided.

The need for CO2 storage will grow from about 40 Mt/year today to more than 5,000 Mt/year by mid-century. The good news, according to a recent commentary by IEA analysts Samantha McCulloch and Raimund Malischek, is that the planet's potential storage capacity is estimated at between 8 000 gigatonnes and 55 000 gigatonnes, with the largest availability in Russia, North America, and Africa.

CO2 can be compressed and injected deep beneath the earth's surface in a process that mimics how oil and gas have been trapped underground for millions of years. Various projects in Norway, Australia, Canada, Australia and the United States have shown the potential to use deep saline formations and depleted oil and gas reservoirs, with only small and easily manageable risks of leakage. Read the commentary.
Ensuring electricity security through climate resilience, cyber security and more
We recently released several new reports in our series on electricity security, which examines the challenges and opportunities ahead in this vital area.

Electricity is becoming increasingly important to the functioning of modern economies because it is essential to a range of critical services from healthcare to banking to transportation. Secure supply of electricity is therefore of paramount importance.
 
Gas markets hit with supply tensions in 2021 after last year's demand drop
After a record drop in global demand last year, natural gas markets were hit with price rallies and spikes in the opening months of 2021 following cold snaps Northeast Asia and then North America. These wintery episodes had a significant effect on global gas markets, driving LNG supplies away from Europe and prompting storage withdrawals and price spikes.

Global gas demand is expected to grow 3.2% in 2021, more than recouping last year's decline, according to our Q2 Gas Market Report. The outlook for gas nonetheless remains subject to various uncertainties, including a potentially slow rebound in economic activity in some parts of the world and switching to other fuels
ENERGY SNAPSHOT
Electricity generation from renewables is set to leap by over 8% in 2021, accounting for more than half of the increase in overall electricity supply worldwide. The biggest contribution to that growth comes from solar and wind, which are on track for their largest annual rise in history.
 
Renewables are set to provide 30% of electricity generation worldwide in 2021, their biggest share of the power mix since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and up from less than 27% in 2019. China is expected to account for almost half of the global increase in electricity generation from renewables, followed by the United States, the European Union and India.
 
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