The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released its Global Energy and Carbon Dioxide status report for 2017. The IEA is comprised of 30 member countries, including the United States, and works to ensure that there is reliable, clean, affordable energy for its members. The organization focuses on energy security, economic development, environmental awareness, and engagement throughout the world. The IEA is an autonomous organization within the Framework of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and has a governing board of energy ministers or representatives from the member countries as well as a Secretariat headed by the Executive Director.
The report is short, with only 14 pages of text and charts; however, it includes a wealth of information, much of which impacts how the world is doing meeting some of the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. Overall, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.4% to 32.5 gigatonnes. This growth came after three straight years of flat emissions. The good news is, that although most major economies saw a rise, the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, and Japan all experienced declines, with the United States having the largest decline. Energy demand increased 2.1% after having only increased 0.9% the previous years. China and India account for over 40% of this increase in demand. Most of the demand (72%) was in fossil fuels, followed by renewable energy (25%), and nuclear energy (3%). The demand for oil increased by 1.6% or 1.5 billion barrels a day, which is double the average seen over the past decade. Much of the increase in oil demand is due to the increase of SUVs and light trucks. Demand for natural gas increased 3% and the IEA attributes this to abundant resources as well as low prices. China accounted for 30% of the growth in natural gas. In a reversal of the downward trend of the last several years, there was a 1% increase in demand for coal. Electricity demand increased by 3.1%, with China and India accounting for 70% of the growth. Energy efficiency increased 1.7%, but this was down from 2.3% on average over the past three years.
The report does include some good news about renewable energy. Renewable energy saw the highest growth of any energy source across the globe last year, by meeting 25% of the energy demand growth in 2017. China and the United States contributed 50% of the increase in renewable generated energy, followed by the European Union, India, and Japan. Wind power generated 36% of the growth in renewable energy output.