Carbon emissions reach record high worldwide in 2018

"[D]espite major growth in renewables, global emissions are still rising, demonstrating once again that more urgent action is needed on all fronts."

Image credit: Seth Anderson / Flickr

A new report from the International Energy Agency determined carbon dioxide emissions was at an all-time high in 2018. While global emissions rose 1.7 percent to reach a historic 33.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide, it was the highest rate of growth since 2013, according to IEA.

An overall growing economy, which caused a greater energy demand, is to blame along with climate change – sending more global warming gasses into the environment – EcoWatch reported. The extreme global hot and cold temperatures caused by climate change made people depend on the increased use of heating and cooling systems.

“[D]espite major growth in renewables, global emissions are still rising, demonstrating once again that more urgent action is needed on all fronts,” Fatih Birol, IEA Executive director, said. “It seems like a vicious cycle. Heating and cooling are one of the biggest drivers of energy demand growth.”

Energy consumption rose 2.3 percent making 2018 the highest rate of emissions growth since 2013, Eco Watch reported. Fossil fuels generated 70 percent of the total energy consumption.

Coal was the most used fossil fuel, according to the IEA report.

“In fact, coal-fired power plants were the single largest contributor to the growth in emissions observed in 2018, with an increase of 2.9%, or 280 Mt, compared with 2017 levels, exceeding 10 Gt for the first time.”

The United States had the greatest increase in oil and natural gas to meet the energy consumption demand compared to Asia, who relied the most on coal

The United States’ “emissions rose by 3.1 percent despite decreasing the year before,” EcoWatch reported. Together with China and India, the three countries made up 70 percent of the increase in energy demand and accounted for 85 percent of the overall rise in global emissions in 2018. In Japan, Germany, Mexico, France and the U.K., emissions decreased last year,

“We are in deep trouble,” Rob Jackson, Stanford University Earth System science professor said in a report by The Washington Post. “The climate consequences are catastrophic. I don’t use any word like that very often. But we are headed for disaster, and nobody seems to be able to slow things down.”


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Ashley is an editor, social media content manager and writer at NationofChange. Before joining NoC, she was a features reporter at The Daily Breeze – a local newspaper in Southern California – writing a variety of stories on current topics including politics, the economy, human rights, the environment and the arts. Ashley is a transplant from the East Coast calling Los Angeles home.