Carbon surge expected in post-Covid boom

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is predicting a major surge in CO2 emissions from energy this year, as the world rebounds from the pandemic.

Total energy emissions for 2021 will still be slightly lower than in 2019, the agency says. But CO2 will rise by the second largest annual amount on record.

The use of coal in Asia is expected to be key: the IEA says it will push demand up by 4.5%, taking it close to the global peak seen in 2014. Many hoped that these changes in energy use would be sustained in the recovery from the pandemic, but these latest predictions from the IEA indicate that is not likely to be the case.

However there are some strong positives for renewable energy in the IEA report. Wind, solar and other sustainable forms grew 3% during 2020, and in the power sector they are expected to grow by 8% this year.

Overall green energy sources will provide 30% of electricity generation, the highest level since the beginning of the industrial revolution.