IEA warns that CO2 emissions will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2021


The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that global CO2 emissions, which fell in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will return to pre-crisis levels in 2021 if governments do not take swift action, Reuters reports.

CO2 emissions have fallen by 7% in 2020 to a decade ago, IEA Director Fatih Birol said, adding that as the economic damage caused by the crisis disappears, “preliminary data confirms our fear that global emissions will recover in 2021.”

Although the first data on global CO2 emissions will be released by the IEA only in April, the Paris-based agency pointed out that China, the first major economy to eliminate strict quarantine, has already reached a higher level of emissions than recorded before the pandemic.

Fatih Birol said the IEA would announce in May its first roadmap, for the entire global energy sector to reach zero emissions by 2050. This IEA report would form the basis of talks at the summit in November in Glasgow, according to Agerpres.

Despite these bleak prospects, the International Energy Agency estimates that recent promises made by industrialized states, as well as a new White House administration, mean that the great powers can counter the climate crisis.

“This year may be a turning point. There is a new climate policy alignment that opens up new possibilities for everyone. Many of the major economies have committed themselves in recent months to zero emissions by the middle of the century. I’m sure the new US administration will join this group of countries,” said Fatih Birol.


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