• 2020 CO2 emissions fell by 5.8% but grew again at the end of the year

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Polluting emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached a new world record in 2021, with 36.3 billion tons, due to the increased use of coal in a global economy recovering from the pandemic downturn, the International Energy Agency announced. (IEA).

The 2021 increase, estimated at 2,000 million tons (6% more), is also the largest recorded in history in absolute terms, the agency said in a statement.

In addition to the recovery of the world economy after the shock of the pandemic in 2020,

adverse weather conditions

(such as droughts that reduced hydroelectric production) or adverse conditions in the energy markets (especially the

abnormally high prices of natural gas

) , he added.

All this caused

many countries to increase the use of coal

for power generation, which triggered CO2 emissions despite the fact that the installation of renewable energies registered its highest annual growth, said the IEA, based on a detailed study to global level.

Coal accounted

for 40% of the increase in global CO2 emissions in 2021

, to 15.3 billion tonnes.

Emissions from natural gas accounted for 7.5 billion tons, exceeding their 2019 levels, while those from oil and its derivatives were 10.7 billion tons, below their pre-pandemic levels due to the fact that

the transportation did not recover in 2021

due to new waves of



Despite the increase in the use of coal, renewables generated more electricity in 2021, with a total of 8,000 TWh and an increase of 500 TWh from 2020.

The consumption of coal to produce electricity increased due to the record prices of natural gas in international markets.


, the only economy that recorded economic growth in 2020 and 2021,

increased its emissions by 750 million tons of CO2

between 2019 and 2021, mainly due to the increased use of coal for electricity production.

The increase in electricity demand in China was 10% in 2021, higher than the economic growth of 8.4%.


, the second most populous country in the world, saw its

CO2 emissions increase in 2021 to exceed the level of 2019

, mainly due to the increase in coal in electricity generation.

By contrast, the most advanced economies saw the opposite trend: US emissions in 2021 were 4% lower than their 2019 pre-pandemic level, while those in the European Union were 2.4% lower.

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