Global energy experts released bleak results on Monday, saying that not only are Earth's carbon dioxide emissions warming more and more, but the world's growing energy thirst has led to higher emissions than ever before in coal-fired power plants.
Global energy demand rose 2.3 percent last year, marking the fastest increase in a decade, according to the International Energy Agency's report. To meet this demand, which was largely fueled by a booming economy, countries turned to a variety of sources, including renewable energy.
But nothing has filled the gap like fossil fuels, which according to the report cover nearly 70 percent of the skyrocketing electricity needs An agency that analyzes energy trends on behalf of 30 member countries, including the United States.
In particular, a fleet of relatively young coal-fired power plants in Asia whose decades have not yet been completed led to a new record "For emissions from coal-fired power plants – over 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide" for the first time, "the agency said average investments only 12 years old and decades younger than their average economic life of around 40 years. ", Stated the agency.
As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from energy use – by far the largest source – increased in 2018, reaching a record high of 33.1 billion tonnes. Emissions showed 1.7 p Global emissions growth in 2018 was "the total output of international aviation," the agency said.
Montag's report underscores the disturbing truth about the world's global efforts to combat climate change: While renewables are expanding rapidly, many countries – including the United States and China – are still using fossil fuels to meet ever-increasing energy needs cover up.
"Very worrisome," said Michael Mehling, deputy director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, describing Monday's findings.
"All this reflects the fact that climate policy around the world is still inadequate despite some limited progress." he said in an e-mail. "They are not even robust enough to offset the increased emissions of economic expansion, especially in developing countries, not to mention decarbonisation to a level that meets the temperature stabilization targets set out in the Paris Agreement . "
Mehling questioned whether the Paris Agreement on Climate Change – the global agreement of 2015, in which countries have committed to reducing their CO2 emissions – is forcing states to force states to honor their promises and Strengthen climate protection measures over time.
the ongoing barriers that have prevented major advances in the past, "said Mehling.
Overcoming these barriers is complicated, according to the agency's report.
China, for example, provided some new energy last year However, it relied much more on natural gas, coal and oil, and in India about half of the new demand was covered by coal-fired power plants in a similar way.
In the United States, however, coal declines – but the largest The increase in energy demand in this country was nevertheless fueled by the burning of natural gas rather than renewable energy: natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than coal when burned, but it is still a fossil fuel and still causes significant emissions.
Admittedly, the new report contains some good news: renewal renewable energies and natural gas have grown Coal has a smaller share of energy paste overall.
The fact that it is still growing strongly contradicts what scientists have said about the measures necessary to contain global warming. In an important report from last year, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted that by 2030, global emissions would have to be nearly halved to keep the planet's warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) , 19659020] That would require extremely rapid annual emissions reductions – instead, the world is still marking new record highs.
And when it comes to the use of coal, the same report found that temperatures would have to be limited to 1.5 ° C and in a little more than 10 years they would even decrease by 78%. Here, too, coal emissions continue to rise.
Rob Jackson, a professor of earth systems science at Stanford University, said the significant growth in wind and solar energy described in the Monday report was overshadowed by the fossil fuel's continuing dependence on the world.  "The growth of fossils is still greater than the growth of all renewable energy," Jackson said, adding that few countries are living up to the promises they made under the Paris Climate Agreement. "What's also daunting is that emissions are rising in the US and Europe. Someone has to reduce their emissions significantly so that we can hope to fulfill the Paris commitments. "
The new results are lowering hopes of a flattening of global emissions and are starting to decline. From 2014 to 2016 they declined slightly, especially coal emissions. However, with renewed growth in 2017 and record highs in 2018, emissions reversal is not yet in sight.
As a result, optimism from the beginning of this decade has largely faded. International efforts to combat climate change have struggled to maintain momentum, and the US government has reversed its priorities.
"We're in big trouble," Jackson said about Monday's results. "The consequences for the climate are catastrophic. I do not use such a word very often. But we are prepared for a disaster, and nobody seems to be slowing things down.