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Deployment of renewables and electric vehicles slows growth of CO2 emissions to less than 1%

A young girl holds a sign reading "Save The Planet" drawn in crayon on a cardboard box
Image Credit: Wix

Global carbon dioxide emissions are set to grow by under 1% this year, despite the pressures brought on by the current energy crisis, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.

The IEA attributed the slowdown in emissions to the accelerated adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles.

CO2 emissions are still set to increase by close to 300 million tonnes this year, but it's a much smaller jump than the 2 billion tonnes of added emissions that the world saw in 2021 as economies rebounded after the pandemic.

This year's increase came from power generation and a boost in passengers getting back on airplanes and resuming global air travel.

Still, the steps that economies are taking to build out more renewable energy and boost electric vehicle adoption are changing things for the better.

The IEA report indicated that emissions would have tripled this year, reaching another 1 billion tonnes of additional CO2 were it not for major deployments of renewables and electric vehicles.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine also played a role by slowing economic activity in Europe and around the world.

Still, it's good news for people who like good news.

“The global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a scramble by many countries to use other energy sources to replace the natural gas supplies that Russia has withheld from the market. The encouraging news is that solar and wind are filling much of the gap, with the uptick in coal appearing to be relatively small and temporary,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “This means that CO2 emissions are growing far less quickly this year than some people feared – and that policy actions by governments are driving real structural changes in the energy economy. Those changes are set to accelerate thanks to the major clean energy policy plans that have advanced around the world in recent months.”

Solar energy and wind led the increase in global renewable energy use, with the largest deployments of these energy technologies ever recorded.

Without this increase, the IEA estimated that emissions would be more than 600 million tonnes higher.

And even with droughts diminishing the ability of hydropower to meet a lot of demand, the growth of the renewable energy source actually supplied about 20 percent of the total amount of renewables that went into the grid.

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