Post-pandemic economic recovery would drive emissions to record levels

Coal power generation would reach an all-time high in 2022

21 July 2021

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), post-pandemic economic recovery would drive emissions up “to record levels in 2023, continuing to rise thereafter”. A recent IEA report analyzes over 800 policy measures in more than 50 countries around the world. The analysis revealed that spending plans for rebuilding economies add up to around $16 billion. Still, only 2% of the total stimulus funds are going to be spent for clean energy investment.

While wealthy economies are on the track to reduce their emissions, emerging economies are falling well behind. Almost 90% of the emissions growth is forecast to come from the developing world such as India and Latin American countries. “Advanced economies have both an economic rationale and a moral obligation to supply climate finance to the emerging world,” said the IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

The overall carbon pollution would be 800 million tones lower in 2023 compared to what would have been without stimulus funds. Nevertheless, estimated emissions would be 3,5 billion tones above the scenario of meeting the Paris Agreement target of 1,50C.

Another recent report published by IEA revealed that coal fired generation would rise by 5% in 2021 after having declined by 4,6% last year. Furthermore, coal power generation would reach record high in 2022. “As a result, carbon emissions from the electricity sector – which fell in both 2019 and 2020 – are forecast to increase by 3.5% in 2021 and by 2.5% in 2022, which would take them to an all-time high”, predicted the IEA.