According to IEA, global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 0.9% or 321 Mt in 2022, reaching a new high of over 36.8 Gt. Following two years of exceptional oscillations in energy use and emissions, caused in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, last year’s growth was much slower than 2021’s rebound of more than 6%. Emissions from energy combustion increased by 423 Mt, while emissions from industrial processes decreased by 102 Mt.
In a year marked by energy price shocks, rising inflation, and disruptions to traditional fuel trade flows, global growth in emissions was lower than feared, despite gas-to-coal switching in many countries. Increased deployment of clean energy technologies such as renewables, electric vehicles, and heat pumps helped prevent an additional 550 Mt in CO2 emissions. Industrial production curtailment, particularly in China and Europe, also averted additional emissions.
Total transport emissions increased by 2.1% (or 137 Mt), also driven by growth in advanced economies. Nonetheless, emissions would have been higher without the accelerating deployment of low-carbon vehicles.
Electric car sales surpassed 10 million in 2022, over 14% of global sales. If all new electric cars on the road had been typical diesel or gasoline cars, global emissions last year would have been another 13 Mt higher.
In contrast to the global growth in transport sector emissions, China’s transport emissions registered a 3.1% decrease in 2022. Covid-19 measures were strongly reinforced compared to 2021, including total lockdowns in major cities and restrictions on crossing prefecture or province boundaries. At the same time, electric car sales reached 6 million in 2022, preventing further emissions from diesel and gasoline cars.