Energy-related emissions Current Affairs - 2020

Poland out of EU’s Climate Neutrality 2050 plan

On December 13, 2019, Poland left 2050 Climate Neutrality Agreement of European Union as the Union demanded for more funds to support nuclear power and for economic transition.


Poland, whose 80% of energy needs are relied on coal opted out of Climate Neutrality 2050 plan. The country requested to extend the plan execution deadline to 2070 availing longer period to cut emissions according to the plan. But net players like Netherlands refused to agree to the terms that led Poland to leave the plan.

Hungary and Czech Republic stopped their resistance after nuclear energy was recognized as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

European Union 2050 Climate Neutrality Plan

The Climate Neutrality Plan is a key commitment under 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It is a 100 billion Euro plan for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is also called European Green Deal or Europe’s man on the moon moment.

Previously under Paris Agreement, the EU had committed to reduce its emission by 40% by 2030 as compared to 1990. There were no goals set for 2050 initially. Under the new plan, the 2030 target has been increased to 50% and a new 100% target has been set for 2050.

Climate Neutrality means emissions will have no impact on climate. It also includes warming effects that do not come from carbon. The plan is important as the EU bloc that comprises of 28 countries is the third largest economic bloc after China and US in contributions to climate change.

Global carbon emissions hit record high in 2017: IAE

According to International Energy Agency (IEA), the global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose to historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes in 2017. It was due to higher energy demand and slowing of energy efficiency improvements. This large amount of global energy-related carbon emissions comes after it was flat for three years.

Key Facts

The global energy demand rose by 2.1% in 2017 to 14,050 million tonnes of oil equivalent, more than twice previous 2016 rate, boosted by strong economic growth. The demand raised by 0.9% in 2016 and 0.9% on average over previous 5 years.

Over 70% of global energy demands growth was met by oil, natural gas and coal, while renewables accounted for rest. Improvements in energy efficiency also slowed in 2017. As a result of these trends, global energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 1.4% to 32.5 gigatonnes, a record high.

This significant growth in global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2017 as it shows that current efforts to combat climate change are far from sufficient. It is also in stark contrast to demands of 2015 Paris climate agreement, which calls for drastic cuts in global emissions to meet its ambitious target to limit increase in global temperatures to no more than 2 degree Celcius above pre-industrial times.

India and China accounted for 70% of global increase in energy demand, while several major economies actually saw dips in their emissions levels – including US, UK, Mexico and Japan. The biggest drop in emissions came from US due to higher renewables deployment.

The renewables-based electricity generation rose by 6.3% due to expansion of wind, solar and hydropower. Renewables had highest growth rate of any energy source, meeting a quarter of world energy demand growth.

International Energy Agency (IEA)

IEA is an inter-governmental organization established in 1974 as per framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It was established in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis after the OPEC cartel had shocked the world with a steep increase in oil prices. Presently it has 30 member countries including India. It is headquartered in Paris, France.

Its prime focus is on the “3Es” of effectual energy policy: energy security, economic development and environmental protection. It also seeks to promote alternate energy sources (including renewable energy), rational energy policies and multinational energy technology co-operation. It acts as energy policy advisor to 29 member countries and also non-member countries like China and Russia.