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Planet-heating pollution from global energy sector continues to rise as fossil fuels dominate, report finds

Last year may have seen a record growth of wind and solar power but planet-heating fossil fuels continued to provide most of the world’s energy, according to a new analysis.

Oil, coal and gas made up 82% of global energy consumption last year, according to the Statistical Review of World Energy report by the Energy Institute and consultancies KPMG and Kearney.

The report, which analyzes data on world energy markets, found that energy consumption rose by 1% in 2022, with fossil fuels helping to meet the demand,

Oil consumption and production both increased last year, the report found. Gas made up 24% of global energy consumption, down slightly from 25% in 2021.

Coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, saw consumption grow by 0.6% in 2022 compared with 2021, largely driven by demand from China and India, according to the report. And global coal production rose by 7%.

As fossil fuels continued to dominate, the amount of planet-heating pollution produced by the energy sector rose to a new high last year, growing by 0.8%.

“The share of world energy still coming from fossil fuels remains stubbornly stuck at 82%, which should act as a clarion call for governments to inject more urgency into the energy transition,” Simon Virley, vice chair and head of energy and natural resources at consultancy KPMG, said in a statement.

Last year saw solar generation grow by 25% and wind by 13.5% compared with the previous year. Yet renewable energy, excluding hydropower, still only made up 7.5% of the world’s energy consumption in 2022.

“2022 saw some of the worst ever impacts of climate change – the devastating floods affecting millions in Pakistan, the record heat events across Europe and North America – yet we have to look hard for positive news on the energy transition in this new data,” Juliet Davenport, president of the Energy Institute, said in a statement.

“We are still heading in the opposite direction to that required by the Paris Agreement,” she added.

Countries have agreed to cut levels of planet-heating pollution by 43% by 2030, to meet an ambition to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Breaching the 1.5-degree threshold significantly increases the chance of catastrophic and potentially irreversible changes and risks triggering major tipping points, including the death of coral reefs and the melting of polar ice sheets.

Source: CNN