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IEA: World on track to reduce COVID-19-related climate gains from 2020

IEA: World on track to reduce COVID-19-related climate gains from 2020
An International Energy Agency report Tuesday said the expected emissions increase in 2021 would reverse 80% of the decline seen in 2020 when emissions fell substantially due to the coronavirus outbreak. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 20 (UPI) -- The International Energy Agency warned in a report Tuesday that global carbon emissions could increase by almost 5% in 2021, wiping out most of the decline that was seen last year due to pandemic shutdowns.Tuesday's report said carbon emissions are expected to rise by 4.8% as demands for coal, oil and gas return to pre-pandemic levels.

The IEA said in its Global Energy Review 2021 that if the carbon increases continue as projected, this year would see the greatest growth of emissions since 2010 and would be the second-largest rise in history.

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"Global carbon emissions are set to jump by 1.5 billion tons this year," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. "This is a dire warning that the economic recovery from the COVID crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate."

The world experienced a significant decline in emissions last year after restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic cut down on air and road travel. But Tuesday's report said that decline is about to disappear.

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"Demand for all fossil fuels is set to grow significantly in 2021," the report states. "Coal demand alone is projected to increase by 60% more than all renewables combined.

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"This expected increase would reverse 80% of the drop in 2020, with emissions ending up just 1.2% below 2019 emissions levels."

The report says demand for renewable energy is expected to increase in the power, heating, industry and transport sectors in 2021. Demand for renewable energy increased 3% last year, it noted.

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U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to host a virtual climate summit with several world leaders at the White House on Thursday, during which he's expected to announce the administration's top environmental goals -- including its emissions goal for 2030 after rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, which the United States abandoned under President Donald Trump.

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National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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