The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its annual analysis, revealing that global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions saw a lesser increase in 2023 compared to the previous year. This occurred despite a surge in total energy demand growth, largely attributed to the continued expansion of clean energy technologies such as solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, nuclear power, and electric vehicles (EVs).

According to the report, emissions rose by 410 million tonnes, a 1.1% increase in 2023, contrasting with a 490 million tonne rise recorded in 2022, pushing emissions to a record level of 37.4 billion tonnes. Notably, exceptional droughts severely impacted hydropower output in key regions like China and the United States, contributing over 40% to the emissions rise. Countries turned to fossil fuel alternatives to compensate for the hydropower shortfall. However, the report highlights that without this unusual drop in hydropower output, global CO2 emissions from electricity generation would have actually declined in 2023, significantly mitigating the overall emissions increase.

The findings from the IEA’s Clean Energy Market Monitor underscore the pivotal role of clean energy technologies in curbing emissions. Advanced economies saw a historic decline in CO2 emissions in 2023, despite GDP growth, with emissions hitting a 50-year low. This decline was driven by robust renewables deployment, coal-to-gas switching, energy efficiency improvements, and softer industrial production.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol emphasized the resilience of the clean energy transition despite numerous challenges in recent years. He highlighted the importance of global commitments, including those made at COP28 in Dubai, in driving emissions downward. The report underscores that from 2019 to 2023, growth in clean energy outpaced that of fossil fuels by a significant margin, limiting the demand for fossil fuels and paving the way for an accelerated transition away from them.

However, the report also notes that clean energy deployment remains heavily concentrated in advanced economies and China. International efforts to increase clean energy investment and deployment in emerging and developing economies are deemed crucial. China's clean energy deployment notably surged in 2023, but a historical drop in hydropower output and economic reopening drove up its emissions.

Similarly, in India, strong GDP growth led to increased emissions in 2023, compounded by reduced hydropower production due to weaker-than-normal monsoons. Despite this increase, per capita emissions in India still remain below the global average.

The report's data on global CO2 emissions is derived from meticulous region-by-region and fuel-by-fuel analysis, utilizing the latest official national data and publicly available energy, economic, and weather data. It covers emissions from all energy combustion and industrial processes. Data on clean technology deployment is sourced from various national and industry association reports.

The report concludes that while challenges persist, the ongoing deployment of clean energy technologies presents a promising pathway to mitigate climate change, provided concerted efforts are made on a global scale to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy systems.