The recovery favors fossil fuels

A series of bad news. Some hoped that the post-pandemic world would be better prepared to deal with the climate emergency. The new global report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) comes as a stinging denial.

According to the annual “Global Energy Review”, published on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 is expected to be one of the worst in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, with more than 33 billion tonnes of CO equivalent.2 released into the atmosphere. “This would be the biggest increase in emissions since 2010, at the time of the very carbon-intensive recovery that followed the financial crisis [de 2008], notes the agency. It would also be the second strongest increase in history.

The first cause of this increase is the rapid Chinese economic recovery: coming out of the health crisis, China has strongly revived its industry and its electricity production, particularly coal-based. “King Coal”, which was thought to be dying, is making a comeback across Asia.

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Demand is increasing by 4.5%, above what it was in 2019, and close to its record level of 2014. “This shows that the global economic recovery will be particularly carbon-intensive and this endangers the global targets for reducing emissions”, worries about World Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the AIE.

“A crucial opportunity”

Generating electricity from coal is one of the most polluting ways to generate electricity. This rebound can be seen in most emerging countries, where demand for energy is very strong. The Chinese power plant fleet alone accounts for a third of global consumption. But coal is also, to a lesser extent, growing in the United States, where the rise in gas prices has benefited it.

The data comes as the new US president, Joe Biden, has invited several world leaders – including Emmanuel Macron – to a climate summit on April 22 and 23.

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For Mr. Birol, “This summit is a crucial opportunity to commit to clear and immediate action before the COP26 in Glasgow [Ecosse] “, to be held in December. It alerts on the “Growing gap” between rhetoric on the climate subject “And the data that we see in real life”.

This increase should not, however, make us forget the historic growth of renewable energies.

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