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2023 saw a record high in global energy CO2 emissions due to droughts that reduced hydropower generation.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday that the usage of fossil fuels surged in nations where droughts hindered hydropower output last year, contributing to a record high in global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Scientists have stated that in order to meet targets to avert runaway climate change and limit global temperature rise, steep reductions in CO2 emissions—primarily from burning fossil fuels—will be required in the upcoming years.

“Far from falling rapidly – as is required to meet the global climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement – CO2 emissions reached a new record high,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported.

According to the IEA, global energy emissions increased to 37.4 billion tonnes in 2023, an increase of 410 million tonnes, or 1.1%.

Global use of clean technology, including electric cars, solar power, and wind, has contributed to a reduction in emissions increase, which was 1.3 percent in 2022. However, the IEA noted in its study that an overall increase was caused by the reopening of China’s economy, the rising use of fossil fuels in nations with limited hydropower output, and the recovery of the aviation industry.

Around 40% of the increase in emissions, or 170 million tonnes of CO2, was attributed to efforts to replace hydropower generation that was lost as a result of severe droughts, the report stated.

“Without this effect, emissions from the global electricity sector would have fallen in 2023,” according to the IEA.

According to the study, energy-related emissions in the US decreased by 4.1 percent, with the electrical industry accounting for the majority of the decrease.

Energy-related emissions in the European Union decreased by over 9 percent last year as a result of a decline in the production of coal and gas and an increase in the production of renewable energy.

According to the research, China’s energy-related emissions increased by 5.2 percent, as the country recovered from lockdowns connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, according to the IEA, China also made up over 60% of the world’s 2023 additions of solar, wind, and electric cars.

Global sales of new cars were made up of one in five electric vehicles in 2023, totaling 14 million, an increase of 35% from 2022.

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