Steady growth in CO2 emissions in China in 2019.
In 2019, CO2 emissions from fuel combustion slightly decreased (-0.2%) following two years of growth, thanks to a significant improvement in energy intensity (-2.1% in 2019) and to a strong decline of the CO2 emissions per kWh produced (-3.2%, or 443 gCO2/kWh) mainly due to fuel switching from coal to gas and the rising share of renewables in the global power mix.
Most of the reduction in emissions occurred in the USA (-2.4%) and Europe (-3.9%, with significant cuts in Germany, Poland, the UK, Spain and Turkey), resulting from a lower energy demand (in particular in the power sector) due to a slower economic growth, mild temperatures, and fuel substitutions in the power sector (coal-to-gas switching and renewable growth).
In Asia, CO2 emissions grew again, though at a slower pace than in recent years. Emissions rose for the third year in a row in China (+2.8%), where the coal-to-gas conversion policy was relaxed and continue their steady growth in Indonesia. On the contrary, emissions declined in India (higher hydropower generation reducing coal consumption), South Korea (temporary shutdowns of coal-fired power plants and shift from coal to LNG) and Japan (lower electricity consumption and improved nuclear availability cutting thermal power generation).
CO2 emissions also continued to increase in coal and hydrocarbon producing countries, such as Russia, Australia, Iran, South Africa or Algeria.
Switzerland’s electricity consumption declined by 2.6% in 2020 to 55.7 TWh, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. This decline was due to the COVID-19 related lockdowns (-4.3% in electricity consumption in the first quarter and -7.8% in the second quarter of 2020), and to economic trends (2.9% drop in the GDP), weather conditions (the number of heating degree days fell by 4.4% compared to 2019) and energy efficiency improvements to a lesser extent.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operators covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell by 13.3% in 2020, due to an 11.2% decrease in emissions from stationary installations (power plants and manufacturing plants) to 1.331 MtCO2eq and a 64.1% decrease in emissions from aviation, a sector which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to 24.5 MtCO2eq.
The power sector posted a 14.9% decrease, as a result of reduced electricity consumption due to the pandemic and continued decarbonisation trends, including both the switch from coal to gas-fired power generation, and the replacement of fossil fuels by renewables. In addition, emissions from industry decreased by an average of 7%, with reductions observed in most sectors, including iron and steel (-11.7%), cement (-5.1%), chemicals (-4%) and refineries (-8.1%).
According to preliminary data from the Ministry of the Ecological Transition, France’s primary energy consumption decreased by 9.9% in 2020 to 2,571 TWh. Final energy consumption declined by 7.9% to 1,637 TWh in 2020, including 147 TWh for non-energy uses (final consumption for energy use at constant climate declined by 5.6% in 2020). The lockdown measures and travel restrictions had a significant impact on energy consumption in the transport and industrial sectors: energy consumption fell by nearly 16% in transport and by 6.5% in industry. The energy consumption of residential and tertiary building adjusted for climate variations increased slightly (+1.5% with climate corrections).
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 1.7% in 2019 to 5,769 MtCO2eq (including LULUCF), i.e. 13% below their 2005 level. The decrease in total energy consumption in 2019 (compared to 2018) and to a continued shift from coal to gas and renewables in the power sector reduced emissions from fossil fuel combustion.