Global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to grow just one percent this year despite concerns that the current energy crisis could lead countries to slow down their transition to renewables, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.
The IEA predicted CO2 emissions would stand at 33.8 billion tonnes in 2022, more than 300 million tonnes more than in 2021.
That increase was however far smaller than the 2-billion-tonne jump the world experienced last year as countries turned to fossil fuels to power their Covid-19 recoveries, it added.
The United Nations says greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030 to keep the Paris Agreement temperature goals within reach -- effectively a drop of some eight percent each year this decade.
The energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had propped up some coal demand this year due to hikes in natural gas prices, said the IEA.
But the relatively small increase in coal emissions had been offset by widespread deployment of renewable tech, including electric vehicles (EVs) -- and this had prevented a CO2 rise of some 1 billion tonnes in 2022.
“The encouraging news is that solar and wind are filling much of the gap, with the uptick in coal appearing to be relatively small and temporary,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
“This means that CO2 emissions are growing far less quickly this year than some people feared -- and that policy actions by governments are driving real structural changes in the energy economy.”
The IEA analysis showed that solar photovoltaic and wind capacity grew by more than 700 terawatt-hours in 2022, the largest single year rise on record.
Coal was expected to register the next largest increase due to high gas prices, rising 200 millions tones in terms of CO2, or around two percent year-on-year.
The IEA said emissions in Europe were likely to fall slightly this year and continue their downward trajectory with a spate of new renewable projects slated for next year.
In China, the world’s largest polluter, emissions will stay largely flat in 2022, it said.