Published on March 27, 2019 |
27. March 2019
by Joshua S Hill
Global energy demand increased by 2.3% in 2018, the fastest growth rate this decade, driven by a strong global economy and increased warming and cooling needs, which later drive global energy-related CO2 emissions up by 1.7% to 33 gigatons.
This are the primary findings of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) Global Energy and CO2 Status Report published this week, designed to provide an update on world energy markets, including the latest availability data for oil , natural gas, coal, wind, sun, nuclear power, electricity and energy efficiency. According to the report, the demand for all fuels increased in 2018, but it was the most beneficial fossil fuels, accounting for nearly 70% of global growth for the second consecutive year. Solar and wind generation grew at double-digit pace – the sun's growth was 31% – but natural gas was the preferred energy source in 2018, accounting for 45% of the increase in energy consumption.
It should not come as a surprise then, the global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2018 increased by 1.7% to 33 gigatons (Gt). Globally, coal-fired power generation has surpassed 10 Gt alone, accounting for one-third of the total increase, most of which was derived from developing Asia's growing coal fleet. In fact, the majority of coal power generation capacity is found in Asia, with the average age of coal-fired power plants sitting at 12 years – not good news when considering that the average life span is around 50 years.
"We have seen an extraordinary increase in global energy demand in 2018, and are growing at their fastest pace this decade," said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA CEO. "Last year may also be considered another golden year for gas, which accounted for almost half of the global energy demand growth. However, despite high growth in renewable energy sources, global emissions are rising again, which shows that more urgent action is needed on all fronts – developing all clean energy solutions, reducing emissions, improving efficiency and stimulating investment and innovation, including other in carbon capture, utilization and storage. "The report also showed that electricity continues on its course to become the dominant" fuel "of the future. The global demand for electricity increases by 4% in 2018 to more than 23,000 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity Against a share of 20% of the total final consumption of energy, it expects half of the growth in primary energy demand in 2018. Renewable energy sources contributed mainly to this power generation and accounted for almost half of all global power growth in 2018. China is the world's leading renewable energy country, both for wind and sun, followed by Europe and then the United States.
Overall, almost one fifth of the increase in global energy demand in 2018 came from increased demand for heating and cooling as the average winter and summer temperature in some regions around the world approached or exceeded historical records.  The world's three largest energy-intensive energy d, China, the United States and India, accounted for nearly 70% of the increase in global energy demand. The United States experienced the largest increase in oil and gas demand worldwide, and gas consumption jumped 10% from the previous year – the fastest increase since the beginning of IEA records dating back to 1971. Globally, gas consumption increased at its fastest rate since 2010, with a 4.6% annual growth, the second straight year with strong growth, driven by increased demand and coal's declining role in the global energy mix. While the United States led the US, gas demand in China also increased by almost 18%.
Demand for oil increased by 1.3% in 2018, with the US returning for the first time in 20 years thanks to strong expansion in the country's petrochemical industry, increasing industrial production and trucking.
Coal consumption increased by 0.7% in 2018, but the good news beyond this is that the increase was seen only in Asia, especially in China, India and a few countries in South and Southeast Asia. This seems to indicate that Western coal policy is gradually beginning to affect overall.
"According to the results included in the International Energy Agency's latest assessment of global energy consumption and energy-related CO2 emissions for 2018, we see a significant increase in electricity consumption, especially in highly developed countries," says Landry Ninteretse, 350 Africa Regional Team Leader , and talking via email. "Three African countries experienced the shocking weather shock of Cyclone Idai, so the demand for fossil fuels is particularly worrying because scientific evidence points to fossil fuels that directly contribute to unstable climatic conditions. Accelerating the global transition to low-carbon emissions means phasing out all fossil fuel projects. Globally, coal mining is shut down and strong commitments are made by leaders in the global "North". Africa, however, is the only continent where coal mining to meet demand seems acceptable, and continues to grow, while it is the most vulnerable continent of climate change.
"The cost that now felt after Cyclone Idai is a clear indicator of what is waiting for us, we should not choose the path to a future that leads to clean energy."