IEA: Electricity CO₂ emissions reach record high and set to remain constant to 2024

After small drop in 2020, global electricity demand grew by 6% in 2021. It was the largest ever annual increase in absolute terms (over 1,500 TWh). Around half took place in China.

Coal fired electricity met more than half of the global increase. It grew by 9% and reached a record level. Renewables grew by 6%, gas-fired generation 2%, and nuclear 3.5%. In total, CO2 emissions from electricity rose by close to 7%, taking them to a record high.

During 2022-2024, we expect rapidly growing renewables to almost match moderate demand growth. Covid-19 pandemic and high energy prices add uncertainty to this. Record-breaking renewables growth is set to serve more than 90% of net demand growth during this period.

Fossil fuel-based generation is seen broadly flat in the coming years.

In our forecast, CO2 emissions from electricity remain around the same level from 2021 to 2024.

Today’s policy settings are insufficient to cut emissions.