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Global CO2 emissions in 2018 were highest ever: IEA

International Energy Agency set to reveal latest data showing historic high, says official

Global carbon emissions in 2018 were the highest in history, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is set to reveal in the coming weeks.

Mechthild Wörsdörfer, the director of sustainability, technology and outlook at the IEA, told SolarPower Europe’s SolarPower Summit in Brussels on Wednesday that the organisation is due to release its latest figures on CO2 emissions “in a few weeks”.

“What we can see from estimates is that there is the highest peak ever in CO2 emissions in 2018 globally.”

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“So on one side, we have the Paris Agreement and a lot of work [to do], but in reality, we are not yet there. There is an emergency to act more, because not only are the emerging countries [seeing emissions rise], but CO2 emissions are going up in advanced countries including Europe.”

The IEA tracks emissions from the energy sector, the largest source of carbon globally.

Wörsdörfer, who had been the head of the energy policy unit at the European Commission for seven years before taking up her new post in October 2018, went on to say that the battle to reduce emissions must involve energy efficiency, renewables, “flexibility” [eg, battery storage and demand response], fuel switching [ie, using fuels with less carbon], nuclear power and carbon capture and storage.

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