Only two years have passed since the Paris Agreement had been signed with an aim to curb carbon emission by 26% to 28% by 2025, and the world shows no sign of any decline of carbon emission. Rather, in the last two years, carbon emission increased with a record high in 2018.
The report published by International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that 33.1 gigatons of energy-related carbon dioxide has been emitted in the 2018, which is an increase of 1.7% from the previous year. The leaders in this carbon emission are the United States and Asia. United States’ carbon dioxide emissions grew by 3.1% in 2018, which shows a reverse of the decline a year ago. China’s emissions rose by 2.5%, whereas India has surged ahead with a 4.5% increase in its carbon emissions. Notably, the United States walked out of the Paris Agreement on June 1, 2017.
Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global warming which the signatories of the Paris agreement vowed to curb as a measure to evade the devastations of climate change.
IEA executive director Fatih Birol, while announcing the report, said, “We see that there is a growing disconnect between those calls and what is happening in the real markets. Once again, we have a major increase in global CO2 emissions, which brings us further to reach the climate targets which were established by several countries internationally.”
According to the report, surging energy consumption in the US and Asia was the primary cause of the emission hike. Global energy consumption rose to 2.3% in 2018, which is roughly double the average annual growth rate since 2010. Fossil fuel was the main source of meeting up the energy demand—almost 70% of the energy demand was met up by fossil fuels.
The demand for natural gas has gone up. Global natural gas consumption rose by 4.6%, while consumption of oil rose by 1.3% and coal by 0.7%. US, India and China, according to IEA, accounted for 70% of all energy demand and also 85% of the net global increase in emissions.
In the United States and Europe, coal consumption has gone down, but Asia has seen a surge. India has hiked its coal consumption by 5%, while in China, it has become 5.3%.
Natural gas demand in the US has spiked 10%, or by 10 billion cubic meters, which is almost equivalent to the gas consumption of the United Kingdom. Again, the spike in natural gas consumption was complemented by the spike in oil demand, especially from the petrochemical sector. The oil demand in America was up by 540,000 barrels per day in 2018, which is the largest increase in the world. This resulted in a 3.1% increase in carbon emissions by US.
A former Obama administration official, Kelly Sims Gallagher, has been quoted to have said, “The increase in American emissions points to a lack of policy focus in the United States, where President Donald Trump has prioritised a rollback of his predecessor’s environmental policies. Rising emissions in the US will only make achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement more difficult. The US stepping off the track is not only a problem to its share of global emissions, but also because of the signal it sends to other countries that it is OK for them to also step off the track”.