Global CO2 emissions rose less than initially feared in 2022 as clean energy growth offset much of the impact of greater coal and oil use.

CO2 Emissions

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by under 1% in 2022 – less than initially feared – as the growth of solar, wind, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficiency helped limit the impacts of increased use of coal and oil amid the global energy crisis, according to new IEA analysis published today.

Although the rise in emissions last year was far smaller than the exceptional jump of over 6% in 2021, emissions still remain on an unsustainable growth trajectory, calling for stronger actions to accelerate the clean energy transition and move the world onto a path towards meeting its energy and climate goals, according to the new analysis, CO2 Emissions in 2022.

Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew in 2022 by 0.9%, or 321 million tonnes, reaching a new high of more than 36.8 billion tonnes, according to the report. The rise in emissions was significantly slower than global economic growth of 3.2%, signalling a return to a decade-long trend that was interrupted in 2021 by the rapid and emissions-intensive economic rebound from the Covid crisis. Extreme weather events including droughts and heatwaves, as well as an unusually large number of nuclear power plants being offline, contributed to the rise in emissions.

“The impacts of the energy crisis didn’t result in the major increase in global emissions that was initially feared – and this is thanks to the outstanding growth of renewables, EVs, heat pumps and energy efficient technologies. Without clean energy, the growth in CO2 emissions would have been nearly three times as high,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “However, we still see emissions growing from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to meet the world’s climate targets. International and national fossil fuel companies are making record revenues and need to take their share of responsibility, in line with their public pledges to meet climate goals. It’s critical that they review their strategies to make sure they’re aligned with meaningful emissions reductions.”

The global CO2 emissions numbers in the report are based on the IEA’s detailed region-by-region and fuel-by-fuel analysis, drawing on the latest official national data and publicly available energy, economic and weather data. The report covers CO2 emissions from all energy combustion and industrial processes – and also includes information on methane and nitrous oxide emissions, providing complete picture of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2022.