Fossil fuel consumption, emissions hit all-time highs: Research

Global fossil fuel consumption and energy emissions hit an all-time high in 2023, according to research compiled by the Energy Institute, a U.K.-based nonprofit group.

The group’s Statistical Review of World Energy report found global energy consumption was at a “record absolute high,” increasing 2 percent compared to the previous year.

Global fossil fuel consumption also reached a record high, increasing 1.5 percent largely due to coal and oil, even though the share of fossil fuel in the overall energy mix marginally decreased.

Overall energy emissions increased by 2 percent last year, exceeding 40 gigatonnes of CO2 for the first time, the report said.

“Energy is central to human progress. It is also now central to our very survival,” Juliet Davenport, president of the Energy Institute, said in a statement. “With global temperatures increases averaging close to 1.5 degrees Celsius, 2023 was the warmest year since records began, and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change were felt across all continents.”

Countries with more advanced economies, such as the U.S. and in Europe, have likely seen a peak in their dependence on fossil fuels as a percentage of their consumed energy, the report found, though it noted fossil fuels still account for much of the countries’ energy needs.

In India, fossil fuel consumption increased 8 percent and for the first time, more coal was used in India than in Europe and North America combined, the report said.

Recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, China saw its fossil fuel usage increase by 6 percent. Still, China added 55 percent of all renewable energy in 2023, more than the rest of the world combined.

Due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, European gas demand fell by 7 percent and Russia’s share of European Union gas imports dropped to 15 percent, down from 45 percent in 2021.

2023 also saw record generation of renewable energy. Wind, solar and hydro power grew by 13 percent and accounted for 15 percent of the world’s primary energy use.

Romain Debarre, a partner at global management consulting firm Kearney, said the researchers hope the report can help “governments, world leaders and analysts move forward, clear-eyed about the challenge that lies ahead.”

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.