Carbon emissions increase for first time in four years

Rising energy demand fuelled by strong economic growth in the developed world saw carbon emissions increase last year for the first time since in 2013.

That is according to a report from oil and gas giant BP, which reveals that energy demand grew by 2.2% last year – significantly higher than the 10-year average of 1.7%.

Growing demand in India and China saw coal consumption increase for the first time in four years, with its share in the power sector’s global energy mix unchanged from 1998.

However, renewable power grew by 17% - the largest increase on record – with wind responsible for more than half of the expansion, and solar more than a third.

BP said that the findings were “two steps forward and one step back”, with consumption and production of natural gas also increasing at the fastest rate since after the financial crash in 2008.

“2017 was a year where structural forces continued to push forward the transition to a lower carbon economy, but where cyclical factors have reversed some of the gains from prior years,” BP group chief executive, Bob Dudley, said.

“These factors, combined with rising demand for energy, have resulted in a material increase in carbon emissions following three years of little or no growth.”

The findings also show that demand for oil grew by 1.8%, with consumption exceeding growth in production, which was below average for the second consecutive year.

In addition, it was found that gains in energy efficiency slowed as industrial activity in the OECD accelerated and output from China’s most energy-intensive sectors returned to growth.

“As we have said, the power system must decarbonise,” Dudley said. “We continue to believe that gains in the power sector are the most efficient way to drive down carbon emissions in coming decades.”


Image credit: iStock



Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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