Energy consumption worldwide grew by 2.3% in 2018—nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010. China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Electricity demand rose by 4%, nearly twice as fast as overall energy demand. Renewables accounted for 45% of the growth in electricity generation expansion. Still, generation from coal- and gas-fired power plants increased considerably, driving up CO2 emissions from the sector by 2.5%, said The Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.
China accounted for over 40% of the growth in renewable-based electricity generation, followed by Europe, which accounted for 25%. The United States and India combined contributed another 13%.
The rise in energy demand was driven by a robust global economy as well as higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world, according to the report.
Natural gas emerged as the fuel of choice, accounting for nearly 45% of the increase in total energy demand.
Demand for all fuels increased, with fossil fuels meeting nearly 70% of the growth for the second year running. Solar and wind generation posted double-digit growth, with solar alone increasing by 31%.
Impact on CO2 emissions
As a result of higher energy consumption, global energy-related CO2 emissions increased to 33.1 Gt CO2, up 1.7%.
While emissions from all fossil fuels increased, the power sector accounted for nearly two-thirds of emissions growth. Coal-fired power generation continued to be the single largest emitter, accounting for 30% of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
China, India, and the United States accounted for 85% of the net increase in emissions, while emissions declined for Germany, Japan, Mexico, France and the United Kingdom.