Updated April 2023
In 2021, gas production reached a record high, coal production was 99% of the record high set in 2013, and oil production was 95% of the record high set in 2019. Coal consumption (not production) is forecast by the IEA to have set a new record in 2022.
Furthermore, only nine countries produced 70% of the world’s fossil fuels in 2021.
In 2021, humanity consumed oil at a rate equivalent to 595 million litres (157 million US gallons) per hour continuously1
Annual oil consumption was 5,216,011,695,000 litres (1,377,814,410,000 US gallons) and was only 4% less than the record consumption of 2019.
82% of the world’s energy supply in 2021 was fossil fuelled.
Energy supply from fossil fuels rebounded fully in 2021 after the decline in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
The share of electricity in global energy consumption (i.e. final energy) increased from 13% in 1990, to only 20% in 2020.
Latest data, figures rounded. This paltry increase of about 7% came over 30 years and 26 UN climate conferences. Decarbonisation of the world’s energy system can only be achieved by consuming most energy as electricity and “green” hydrogen, instead of combusting coal, oil and gas.
Low-emission hydrogen was less than 1% of global hydrogen production in 2021.
61% of electricity in 2021 was generated by fossil fuels; the combined share of wind and solar was 10%.
Coal and gas fired electricity generation in 2021 both reached record highs.
The share of low-carbon electricity generation in 2021 was 1% less than its peak in 1995.
Low-carbon electricity here is classified as the combination of electricity from hydro, nuclear, wind and solar.
26 years after COP1, the net change of electricity generation was that fossil fuels and low-carbon fuels both lost a 1% share to the categories ‘Geothermal, Biomass and Other Renewables’ and ‘Other’.
COP1 refers to the first UN climate conference in 1995.
Fossil fuelled electricity generation rebounded strongly after the Covid pandemic.
Fossil fuelled electricity generation rebounded in 2021 by 1,010TWh, after having declined in 2019 and 2020 by a total 608TWh. Net-change over 2019-21 was an increase of 402TWh, roughly equivalent to the combined annual growth of wind and solar.
Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement in 2021 reached a record 36.85 billion tonnes, 86% of which originated from the world energy system.
Humankind’s CO₂ emissions account for 80% of global warming since 1750, are the only rapidly increasing contributor, continue to grow with no peak in sight, at a rate unprecedented in the past 66 million years, and almost solely determine Earth’s long term warming commitment. These must be reduced to net-zero to stabilise warming, and removed from the atmosphere to lower warming.
2022 global average annual atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) concentration reached a record 417.1ppm, increasing at a near record rate of 2.1ppm/year.
The most rapid natural change of CO₂ known with high confidence, ranged between 10 and 15ppm over 100 to 200 years (16,000, 15,000 and 12,000 years ago). This is equivalent to an average change of at most 0.15ppm/year, meaning that the increases of CO₂ in 2021 and 2022 were between 14 and 16 times as rapid.
In the mid-Pliocene, 3–5 million years ago, the last time that the Earth’s atmosphere contained 400ppm of CO₂, global mean surface temperature was 2–3℃ warmer than today, the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melted and even some of the East Antarctic ice was lost, leading to sea levels that were 10–20 metres higher than they are today. During the mid-Miocene (15–17 million years ago), atmospheric CO₂ reached 400–650ppm and global mean surface temperature was 3–4℃ warmer than today.
References: Chart 6, News about CO₂ in 2022, & paleoclimate facts (p.8)
Relative to the 1850-1900 pre-industrial baseline, global warming in 2022 is estimated to be about 1.15°C, and the 10-year average for the period 2013-2022 is estimated to be 1.14°C.
Global warming in 2019 relative to 1750 was +1.29°C.
- BP Statistical Review of World Energy, sheet titled ‘Oil Consumption – Barrels’, value for ‘World’ in 2021 = 89,877 thousand barrels per day. Sheet titled ‘Approximate conversion factors’ states 1 barrel = 0.159 kilolitres = 159 litres. 89,877kpbd*1,000litres per barrel = 89,877,000 barrels per day. 89,877,000*159 = 14,290,443,000 litres per day. 14,290,443,000/24 = 595,435,125 litres per hour, which rounds to 595 million litres per hour.(↩)