Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Global Energy Is Just 1% Less Carbon Intensive Today Than in 1990, Because The World Uses More Coal Than Ever

In 1990, the world essentially used no wind or solar energy, and considerably fewer nuclear reactors were operating then compared to now. Today, the world has more than 100,000 megawatts of solar power and nearly 300,000 megawatts of wind--big numbers and a lot of power production.  Over the last 20 years, the boom of carbon-free energy around the world is extraordinary.

Though renewable energy especially has boomed, coal has done extraordinarily well too. Led by China's unquenchable thirst for energy and especially coal, the world is using more coal today than ever before.

The result of these two trends--booming renewable energy and surging coal consumption--is that the world's energy today is just 1% less carbon intensive than it was in 1990. That's the finding of the IEA here:

Among the recommendations of the IEA to reduce carbon pollution is to use more gas and less coal, while accelerating the deployment of renewable energy and nuclear power.

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