Why 2018 will be a record year for carbon emissions—and what to do about it

(Eco Business, 7 Nov 2018) 2017 was a record year for renewable energy, but 2018 will be a record year for carbon emissions. Why? And what can be done to decarbonise a world with a raging appetite for energy?

In 2018, humanity will pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ever, and yet last year was a record year for renewable energy. What gives?

“There is a big disconnect between the [emissions reduction] targets that have been set [to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change], and what is happening in real life,” said Dr Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency at Singapore International Energy Week on Tuesday.

Birol, whose employer has often been criticised by environmentalists for downplaying the rise of renewables, said that although 2017 was a recordbreaking year for renewable energy installations, it was a bad year for an important weapon in the fight against climate change—energy efficiency.

“We can’t fix the problem [of rising climate-changing emissions] with renewables alone,” he said.

The use of coal—a cheap, abundant but dirty and inefficient source of fuel—has continued to rise, particularly in developing Asia where consumption is growing by 3.1 per cent a year.

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Eco Business, 7 Nov 2018: Why 2018 will be a record year for carbon emissions—and what to do about it