The International Energy Agency said Tuesday that global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 6% in 2021 to a record 36.3 billion metric tons, the highest amount ever.

“In absolute terms, the increase in worldwide CO2 emissions of almost 2 billion metric tons was the greatest in history, more than compensating the previous year’s pandemic-induced drop,” the report stated.

As the world economy recovered from the COVID crisis, it pointed to the widespread use of coal to fuel growth.

“Adverse weather and energy market conditions – particularly natural gas price spikes – aggravated the recovery of energy demand in 2021, resulting in more coal being burnt despite renewable power output growing at its fastest rate ever,” it stated.

According to the IEA, China accounted for the majority of the rise in global CO2 emissions over pre-pandemic levels, with 750 million metric tons added between 2019 and 2021.

CO2 Emission

“China was the only big economy to increase in both 2020 and 2021,” the report stated.

“China’s emissions rises in those two years more than offset the rest of the world’s overall drop over the same time period.”

China’s CO2 emissions surpassed 11.9 billion metric tons in 2021, accounting for 33% of world CO2 emissions.