Global CO2 emissions declined by 5.8% in 2020, or almost 2 Gt CO2 – the largest ever decline and almost five times greater than the 2009 decline that followed the global financial crisis.
However in 2021 global energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to rebound and grow by 4.8% as demand for coal, oil and gas rebounds with the economy.
The economic downturn has temporarily suppressed emissions, but low economic growth is not a low-emissions strategy – it is a strategy that would only serve to further impoverish the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Only faster structural changes to the way we produce and consume energy can break the emissions trend for good. Governments have the capacity and the responsibility to take decisive actions to accelerate clean energy transitions and put the world on a path to reaching our climate goals, including net-zero emissions.
In 2021, annual global energy investment is set to rise to USD 1.9 trillion, rebounding nearly 10% from 2020 and bringing the total volume of investment back towards pre-crisis levels.
The anticipated upswing in investments in 2021 is a mixture of a cyclical response to recovery and a structural shift in capital flows towards cleaner technologies. But despite an urgent need to shift to a more sustainable energy pathway, global CO2 emissions are again on the rise.