China, US and India drive energy demand up by 70% — IEA

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Despite the jump in renewable generating capacity, generation from coal- and gas-fired power plants still increased considerably, driving up CO2 emissions from the generation sector by 2.5%. China accounted for over 40% of new deployment of renewable electricity generation, followed by Europe at 25%. The U.S. and India together contributed an additional 13%, the IEA said in its Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.

Worldwide, energy consumption growth was nearly double the average rate of growth that has been recorded since 2010. China, the U.S. and India together accounted for nearly 70% of the increase in global energy demand, the IEA said.

The rise in energy demand was primarily 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 has 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 growth for the second year running. Solar and wind generation posted double-digit growth, with solar alone increasing by 31%.

As a result of higher energy consumption, global energy-related CO2 emissions increased to 33 gigatonnes, up 1.7%, the IEA said. 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 U.S. accounted for 85% of the net increase in emissions, while emissions declined for Germany, Japan, Mexico, France and the U.K.