Global Energy & CO2 Status Report

The latest trends in energy and emissions in 2017

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Latest trends in CO2 emissions

Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 1.4% in 2017, reaching a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes, a resumption of growth after three years of global emissions remaining flat.

The increase in CO2 emissions, however, was not universal. While most major economies saw a rise, some others experienced declines, including the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan. The biggest decline drop came from the United States, mainly because of higher deployment of renewables.


	CO2 Emissions	Yearly Increase 2000-2016	Increase 2016-2017
2000	23.01		
2001	23.01	0.34	
2002	23.35	0.4	
2003	23.75	1.05	
2004	24.8	1.17	
2005	25.97	0.93	
2006	26.9	0.85	
2007	27.75	1.1	
2008	28.85	0.16	
2009	28.59	-0.42	
2010	28.59	1.67	
2011	30.26	0.88	
2012	31.14	0.25	
2013	31.39	0.52	
2014	31.91	0.2	
2015	32.11	-0.03	
2016	32.08	-0.01	
2017	32.07		0.46
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Global energy-related CO2 rose by 1.4% in 2017, an increase of 460 million tonnes (Mt), and reached a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes (Gt). Last year’s growth came after three years of flat emissions and contrasts with the sharp reduction needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The increase in carbon emissions, equivalent to the emissions of 170 million additional cars, was the result of robust global economic growth of 3.7%, lower fossil-fuel prices and weaker energy efficiency efforts. These three factors contributed to pushing up global energy demand by 2.1% in 2017.

	GDP	CO2 Emissions	Energy
2000	1	1	1
2001	1.02	1.01	1.01
2002	1.05	1.03	1.03
2003	1.1	1.08	1.07
2004	1.15	1.13	1.12
2005	1.21	1.17	1.15
2006	1.27	1.21	1.18
2007	1.34	1.25	1.21
2008	1.38	1.26	1.23
2009	1.38	1.24	1.21
2010	1.45	1.31	1.28
2011	1.51	1.35	1.3
2012	1.56	1.36	1.32
2013	1.61	1.39	1.34
2014	1.66	1.4	1.35
2015	1.72	1.39	1.36
2016	1.77	1.39	1.37
2017	1.84	1.41	1.4
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The trend of growing emissions, however, was not universal. While most major economies saw a rise in carbon emissions, some others experienced declines, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan.

The biggest decline came from the United States, where emissions dropped by 0.5%, or 25 Mt, to 4 810 Mt of CO2, marking the third consecutive year of decline. While coal-to-gas switching played a major role in reducing emissions in previous years, last year the drop was the result of higher renewables-based electricity generation and a decline in electricity demand. The share of renewables in electricity generation reached a record level of 17%, while the share of nuclear power held steady at 20%.

In the United Kingdom, emissions dropped by 3.8%, or 15 Mt, to 350 Mt of CO2, their lowest level on record back to 1960. A continued shift away from coal towards gas and renewables led to a 19% drop in coal demand. In Mexico, emissions dropped by 4%, driven by a decline in oil and coal use, efficiency gains in the power system, strong growth in renewables-based electricity generation and a slight increase in overall gas use. In Japan, emissions fell by 0.5% as increased electricity generation from renewables and nuclear generation displaced generation from fossil-fuels, especially oil.

Overall, Asian economies accounted for two-thirds of the global increase in carbon emissions. China’s economy grew nearly 7% last year but emissions increased by just 1.7% (or 150 Mt) thanks to continued renewables deployment and faster coal-to-gas switching. China’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 reached 9.1 Gt, almost 1% higher than their 2014 level. While China’s coal demand peaked in 2013, energy-related emissions have nonetheless increased because of rising oil and gas demand.

	Change from 2016	Percentage change (right axis)
China	149	1.7
Rest of Developing Asia	123	3.0
European Union	47	1.5
United States	-23	-0.5
World	457	1.4
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In India, economic growth bolstered rising energy demand and continued to drive up emissions, but at half the rate seen during the past decade. India’s per-capita emissions last year were 1.7 tCO2, well below the global per capita average of 4.3 tCO2. Emissions in the European Union grew by 1.5%, adding almost 50 Mt of CO2, reversing some of the progress made in recent years mainly due to robust growth in oil and gas use. The rate of energy intensity improvement slowed to 0.5% down from 1.3% the previous year. Southeast Asian economies also contributed to the rise in emissions, with Indonesia leading the growth with an increase of 4.5% relative to 2016.

The growth in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 is a strong warning for global efforts to combat climate change, and demonstrates that current efforts are insufficient to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario charts a path towards meeting long-term climate goals. Under this scenario, global emissions need to peak soon and decline steeply to 2020; this decline will now need to be even greater given the increase in emissions in 2017. The share of low-carbon energy sources would need to increase by 1.1 percentage points every year to meet the objectives of this scenario, more than five-times the growth registered in 2017. In the power sector, specifically, generation from renewable sources would need to increase by an average 700 TWh annually in this scenario, 80% higher than the 380 TWh increase registered in 2017. Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) plays an important role for reducing emissions in the industry and power sectors.