New energy efficiency improvement in the USA in 2020, twice the 2000-2019 pace
Significant slowdown in energy intensity improvement in 2020 (-0.4%, vs. -1.5%/year over 2000-2019)
Global energy intensity (total energy consumption per unit of GDP) dipped by 0.4% only in 2020, i.e. much slower than its historical trend (-1.5%/year on average between 2000 and 2019), widening again the gap with the 3.5%/year decrease required to achieve the 2°C scenario. This slowdown is mainly due to the economic recession in 2020, which had a negative impact on economic activity, but did not reduce energy consumption to the same extent (the economic downturn affected all sectors, such as services, not only the most energy-intensive). Energy intensity levels and trends differ widely across world regions, reflecting differences in economic structure and energy efficiency achievements. Since 2000, the USA and the EU have cut their energy intensity by around 2%/year thanks to energy efficiency efforts (especially in the power sector) and to a lesser extent to a structural shift toward less energy-intensive industry branches and the growing share of services in the GDP. In 2020, the improvement was much slower in the EU (-0.6%), whereas it accelerated in the United States (-4.2%). China’s energy intensity remained stable in 2020 (+0.4%, compared to a 2.9%/year improvement over the 2000-2019 period). In 2020, its energy intensity stood 43% below its 2000 level, still 27% above the world average. The high energy intensity in the CIS, the Middle East, China and some Asian countries (Taiwan, South Korea) is explained by the dominance of energy-intensive industries, commodity exporting-based economies and low energy prices that do not encourage energy efficiency. In 2020, energy intensity increased in Asia (especially in India and China, improving in other countries), in Australia, in the Middle East, in Africa (strong growth in Nigeria and South Africa, contrasting with improvements in Algeria and Egypt) and in Latin America to a lesser extent (increase in most countries except Mexico). On the contrary, energy intensity improved in Canada and Russia, though remaining much higher than the global average.
According to preliminary statistics from the Indian Ministry of Coal, India’s production of non-coking coal and lignite declined by 1.7% in the fiscal year 2020-21 to 708 Mt, including 671 Mt of non-coking coal (-1%) and 37 Mt of lignite (-12%). Of the total output of non-coking coal, 96% was produced the public sector, including 83% by Coal India Limited (CIL). Most of the lignite was extracted by NLC India Limited (53%). The country imported 164 Mt of non-coking coal in 2020-21 (-17%), mainly from Indonesia (56%), South Africa (19%) and Australia (11%).
Spain’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (including LULUCF) decreased by 13.7% in 2020 to 271.5 MtCO2eq (-6.4% compared to 1990 level), according to preliminary data from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO). This drop is due to an increase renewable electricity generation, the fall in coal use, and activity and mobility limitations associations with the COVID-19 pandemic. CO2 accounted for 78% of total GHG emissions in 2020, followed by methane (14%). Transport represented 28% of total GHG emissions in 2020, followed by industry (21%), agriculture and livestock (14%), electricity generation (10%), households and services (8%) and waste (5%). GHG emissions from installations subject to the EU ETS declined by 18.7% in 2020 compared to 2019. Emissions from diffuse sectors decreased by 10% and those from dometic air transport nearly halved in 2020 (-48%). The LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry) sector is estimated to have removed 13.5% of Spain’s gross GHG emissions (36.6 MtCO2eq).
South Korea’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions declined by 7.3% in 2020 to 649 MtCO2eq (i.e. -10.9% compared with the 2018 peak of 729 MtCO2eq). GHG emissions have been driven down by South Korea's energy and industrial sectors (-7.8% and -7.1%, respectively). In the power sector, total emissions decreased by 12.4% due to temporary shutdowns of coal-fired power plants resulting in lower coal-fired power generation and due to an increased renewable power generation. Emissions from the transport sector (included in the energy sector) contracted by 4.1%, owing to reduced travel (COVID-19-related restrictions) and the continuous deployment of low-emission vehicles. Residential emissions grew by only 0.3%, while emissions from business and public sectors fell by 9.9%. In the industrial sector (-7.1%), the reduced activity affected the energy-intensive branches such as chemicals (7.6% drop in GHG emissions), steel (-2.5%) and cement (-8.9%).
Australia's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions dipped by 5% in 2020 (-26.1 MtCO2eq) to 499 MtCO2eq, according to the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. GHG emissions from the power sector declined by 4.9% but still accounted for a third of total GHG emissions in Australia. In addition, fugitive emissions (10% of total GHG emissions in 2020) declined by 8.8%, partly due to a lower coal production, and emissions from transport (18% of total GHG emissions in 2020) contracted by 12.1%, because of COVID-19 restrictions. In 2020, Australia's GHG emissions stood 20.1% below their 2005 level (the baseline year for the Paris Agreement). The country has committed to reduce its emissions by 26-28% by 2030 from 2005 levels.