IEA: Gas produces more electricity than coal in EU

Gas produced more electricity than coal for the first time ever in the EU last year, while global carbon emissions stopped growing due to the actions of advanced economies, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.
After two years of growth, global emissions were unchanged at 33 gigatonnes in 2019 even as the world economy expanded by 2.9%, it said.

This was “thanks to the expanding role of renewable sources (mainly wind and solar), fuel switching from coal to natural gas and higher nuclear power generation”, the Paris-based agency added in a statement.

“Other factors included milder weather in several countries and slower economic growth in some emerging markets.”

Emissions in the European Union fell by 160m tonnes, or 5%, in last year driven by reductions in the power sector, said the IEA.

Growing wind
“Natural gas produced more electricity than coal for the first time ever, meanwhile wind powered electricity nearly caught up with coal-fired electricity.”

Across advanced economies, emissions from the power sector declined to levels last seen in the late 1980s, when electricity demand was one-third lower than currently, said the IEA.

“This welcome halt in emissions growth is grounds for optimism that we can tackle the climate challenge this decade,” said the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol.

Nevertheless, emissions in the rest of the world “grew by close to 400m tonnes in 2019, with almost 80% of the increase coming from countries in Asia where coal-fired power generation continued to rise”.

The agency will hold a summit in Paris on Wednesday to discuss initiatives with climate ministers.

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