Global warming emissions are expected to spike this year as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and economies begin to recover.
Worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions could surge by 1.5 billion metric tons this year, following last year’s decline due to the pandemic, according to a Tuesday report from the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental group based in Paris.
That would be the second-largest annual increase in emissions since 2010 following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the IEA reported.
Carbon dioxide emissions will increase 5% increase this year, to 33 billion metric tons, the IEA forecast. The group says that the main driver is coal demand, which is on course to grow by 4.5%. That would surpass its 2019 level and approach its 2014 peak, according to the IEA, which says the electricity sector is responsible for about three-quarters of the rise.
China is by far the world’s biggest coal user and carbon emitter, followed in emissions by the United States, the third largest user.