Have we reached a positive climate tipping point? Ember report provides 2022 electricity generation overview

Wind and solar energy represented a record 12% of global electricity generation last year

According to a report by Ember, a prominent thinktank, greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector are projected to decrease for the first time, even as the global demand for electricity continues to rise. The report offers an up-to-date overview of worldwide electricity generation in 2022, as well as a practical summary of the progress towards the transition to sustainable energy. 

Remarkably, the use of coal, oil, and gas to produce electricity is set to decline for the first time in a non-recessionary or non-pandemic year. This development signals a significant positive turning point for the renewable sector, as expansion in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar is surpassing the growth in demand. 

The decrease in emissions can be attributed to the remarkable growth of renewable energy sources, which are outpacing the increase in electricity demand. 

  • Data was taken from 78 countries representing 93% of global electricity demand. The report included estimated changes for the remaining 7%.  
  • The top 10 CO2 emitting countries accounted for over 80% of global CO2 emissions. 
  • The fall in fossil fuel emissions in electricity this year is expected to be small, around 0.3%. However the authors believe the drop will continue and accelerate in subsequent years.  
  • Key to this is a fall in the use of gas, which fell slightly by 0.2% last year.  
  • Brazil saw a surge in hydro power which reduced their use of gas by 46% in 2022.  
  • Renewable energy sources and nuclear power represented a 39% share of global generation last year.  
  • Wind and solar energy represented a record 12% of global electricity generation last year, up from 10% in 2021, 
  • Around 50% of the global addition of wind power came from China and about 40% of the world’s new solar.  

Future planet sat down to discuss the importance of tipping points in efforts to tackle climate change with Simon Sharpe, author of Five Times Faster: Rethinking the Science, Economics, and Diplomacy of Climate Change. 

Read the full interview here.  

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