Global energy emissions rise at fastest pace in seven years

The global energy sector produced more carbon emissions in 2018 than it had for the previous seven years, research from oil and gas giant BP has revealed.


In a report published this week, BP said there “is a growing divergence” between demands for climate action and the actual pace of progress reducing emissions.

The findings show that energy demand grew by 2.9% worldwide last year, while an increase of 2% for CO2 emissions was the largest rise recorded since 2010/11.

Coal consumption and production increased for the second year in a row following three years of decline, with the researchers warning that the world is on “an unsustainable path”.

"The longer carbon emissions continue to rise, the harder and more costly will be the necessary eventual adjustment to net zero carbon emissions," said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive. 

"As I have said before, this is not a race to renewables, but a race to reduce carbon emissions across many fronts."

The report also shows that natural gas consumption and production was up by over 5% in 2018, which was one of the strongest rates of demand and output recorded for over 30 years.

The US saw the largest-ever annual production increases by any country for both oil and natural gas last year, with the vast majority of this coming from onshore shale plays.

Renewables grew by 14.5% – just short of 2017’s record-breaking increase – but still only accounted for around a third of the rise in total power generation.

This comes after a report in March revealed that BP, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, and Total each spend around $200m a year lobbying governments to protect and expand their fossil fuel operations.

At the same time, these companies shell out $195m on branding themselves as part of the solution to climate change.

NGO InfluenceMap, which carried out the research, said this is part of a strategy by oil and gas firms to protect their annual sales of over $1trn, and warned that it is “overwhelmingly in conflict” with the Paris Agreement.

“Oil majors are projecting themselves as key players in the energy transition while lobbying to delay, weaken or oppose meaningful climate policy,” report author, Edward Collins, commented. 


Image credit | iStock

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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