The Impressive Impact Of Clean Energy Projects On Global Emissions In 2022

According to the IEA, carbon emissions rose by less than initially anticipated in 2022, a development that the Agency puts down to a large increase in clean energy projects.

The head of the IEA hit out at oil and gas companies, claiming that they need to take their share of responsibility in reducing emissions as they post record revenues.

The IEA believes an additional 550 million tonnes of emissions were avoided by the increased deployment of clean energy technologies.

According to a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, carbon emissions in 2022 rose by less than was feared, largely thanks to a multitude of new green energy projects worldwide. Carbon dioxide emissions worldwide increased by under 1 percent in 2022, or 321 million tonnes, lower than initially anticipated, according to the IEA. This was supported by the growth in solar and wind power, EVs, and heat pumps, as well as greater efforts at increased energy efficiency. Despite a rise in coal and oil use, in response to the global energy crisis, these efforts meant emissions did not rise substantially, particularly compared to the 6 percent increase seen in 2021. Despite the improvement last year, the world’s emissions are still rising in an unsustainable way, threatening the net-zero by 2050 scenario of many countries. Carbon emissions still totaled over 36.8 billion tonnes in 2022. However, the acceleration of renewable energy projects and the rollout of related technologies could support a rapid decrease in CO2 emissions. 

And the IEA has made its stance on the oil and gas industry clear, suggesting that greater efforts need to be made to hold oil majors accountable for their impact on climate change. The IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol, explained “we still see emissions growing from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to meet the world’s climate targets. International and national fossil fuel companies are making record revenues and need to take their share of responsibility, in line with their public pledges to meet climate goals. It’s critical that they review their strategies to make sure they’re aligned with meaningful emissions reductions.”

Meanwhile, certain fossil fuels that many countries hoped to be moving away from saw increased use last year in response to the energy crisis. Carbon emissions from coal increased by 1.6 percent, as several countries across Asia used more coal, and states in Europe, such as the U.K., delayed the planned closure of several coal plants. The rise in coal emissions was offset by a 1.6 percent decline in natural gas emissions, thanks to the movement away from Russian gas, which led to stricter usage limits across Europe. However, instead of switching to green alternatives, many countries relied on an increase in coal use. 

Nevertheless, the report highlighted some positive achievements in clean energy that have helped reduce emissions significantly. According to the report, an additional 550 million tonnes of emissions were avoided by increased deployment of clean energy technologies, showing the importance of developing the green energy sector at a more advanced rate. The IEA suggested that without the growth that’s been seen in clean energy, the increase in emissions last year would have been almost three times as high.