BP’s global data for 2017 shows record highs for coal and renewables

BP’s global data for 2017 shows record highs for coal and renewables

Renewable energy grew by the largest amount ever last year, while coal-fired electricity also reached a record high, according to new global data from oil giant BP.

However, set against continued rapid rises in energy demand fuelled by oil and gas, renewables were not enough to prevent global CO2 emissions rising significantly for the first time in four years.

This was partly because cyclical economic changes had flattered progress in previous years and, last year, cancelled out some of the slow, continuing shift towards a lower-carbon energy, BP says.

Still, the goals of the Paris Agreement look as far away as ever in the wake of these latest figures, given emissions must, ultimately, reach net-zero by mid-century to avoid dangerous warming.

Carbon Brief runs through the 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which, for the first time, covers all sources of electricity and the key materials needed for electric vehicles.

Another renewables record

Wind, solar and other non-hydro renewable energy sources grew by 69m tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2017. This was their largest-ever increase, breaking last year’s record of 53Mtoe. Renewables were also the fastest-growing source of energy last year, up 17%.

Nevertheless, all low-carbon sources together met just a third of the 253Mtoe (2.2%) increase in global energy demand in 2017. Fossil fuels met the remaining two thirds, with gas (+83Mtoe, 3.0%) the single-largest source of new energy supply last year.

 

Last year saw the strongest energy demand growth since 2013, BP says, with the 2.2% rise being well above the 1.7% average of the past decade. Developing countries accounted for four-fifths of the increase, BP says, though the EU also saw above-average demand growth.

Meanwhile, global coal demand returned to growth after three years of declines, rising 25Mtoe (1.0%). However, coal use remains 3.5% below a peak reached in 2013.

CO2 returns to growth

The rise in demand for coal, oil and gas means global CO2 emissions grew by 426MtCO2 (1.6%) in 2017, BP’s figures suggest. This follows three years of flat or falling emissions, when coal use was also falling. BP’s data broadly aligns with a 2% growth estimate published last November by the Global Carbon Project.

 

Source: CarbonBrief

Date: June 2018

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