The post-Covid threat to environmental recovery

The post-Covid threat to environmental recovery

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is predicting a major surge in CO2 emissions from energy this year, as the world rebounds from the pandemic; They say that total energy emissions for 2021 will still be slightly lower than that reported in 2019, but suggested that CO2 will rise by an unprecedented second largest annual amount on record, due to increased coal usage caused primarily by Asia’s demand and renewables continue booming with green sources set to supply 30% of electricity worldwide.


The IEA says that the coal usage in Asia is expected to push global demand up by 4.5%, and as a result leaving us close to the global peak seen in 2014. While this is dangerous, and risks all positive changes so far, it is also confirmed that renewable energy is only getting better, with green sources set to supply 30% more electricity than last year.


The global response to coronavirus, which saw the emptiest roads and highest streets in decades after 2020, was accompanied by a 6% drop in emissions – During this time, intensive fuels were restricted due to environmental concerns caused by pollution from these products, which then increased during this time of crisis.

However, new predictions have shown a significant increase on rates of consumption over only two years when nations returned to their standard levels not even three months following its pandemic recovery efforts. This is not likely to continue as restrictions on carbon-intensive fuels like coal and oil have started loosening up since then. While many hoped that these changes would be sustainable after the pandemic, the IEA indicate that this is not likely – While overall global use for coal and other sources declined by around 4% in 2020, this is expected to rise by 4.2%, more than twice as much, in 2021.


An IEA spokesperson confirmed that global carbon emissions are expected to rise by 1.5billion tonnes in 2021, with this being mainly due to the massive drive for coal in our industry. Air pollution will worsen in 2021 if demand for oil increases, according to the IEA. Meanwhile, there is some good news related to renewables: wind and solar are expected to grow by 3% this year while the power sector should increase 8%.


This week, President Joe Biden will host an international climate summit. He is expected to be joined by forty other world leaders via video chat to discuss how they can reduce their carbon emissions and help save the planet from imminent destruction.

The United States is also expected to announce a significant improvement in its 2030 emissions-cutting target this week as well which many environmentalists are saying isn’t enough if we want to keep global temperatures within limits of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; however, it’s still important that these efforts start now before things get worse!