Decline in CO2 intensity in the EU in 2019.
In 2019, the CO2 intensity fell by 2.9%, i.e. nearly twice its 2000-2018 average (-1.5%/year), thanks to steady improvements in energy intensity (around 1.5-2%/year) and in the “carbon factor” (CO2 emissions of energy consumption), especially for power generation (lower coal consumption). The CO2 intensity posted significant decreases in OECD countries (-5.5% in the EU and South Korea, -4.6% in the USA, -4.1% in Japan), well above their historical trends. In the EU, the CO2 intensity particularly decreased in large countries such as Poland (-10%), Germany (-7%) and Spain (-8%) due to decreasing CO2 emissions and slower economic growth.
The CO2 intensity also improved in Asia (-3.4%), especially in China (-3.1%, even if it remains 52% above the global average) and India (-5.1%, due to a strong economic growth coupled with declining emissions). In other large economies, the improvement was much slower (-0.6% in Australia, where CO2 emissions slightly increased, -1% in Mexico). Conversely, the CO2 intensity continued to increase in Russia, South Africa and Iran, following the rising trend in their emissions.
In 2020, European Union-wide electricity consumption declined by more than 4%, as rising demand by households could not reverse falls in other sectors of the economy. The share of renewables in the EU power mix rose to 39%, surpassing fossil fuels (36%) for the first time. Indeed, coal- and lignite-fired power generation fell by 22% (-87 TWh), due to a strong competition from gas (very favourable price), higher carbon prices and new retirements of coal-fired power capacities. Consequently, the carbon footprint of the power sector in the EU dropped by 14% in 2020, with fuel switching being the main factor behind the decarbonisation trend. The European Union added 29 GW of solar and wind capacity in 2020, which is comparable to 2019 levels.
The global renewable capacity increased by 10.3% in 2020, when 261 GW of new projects were commissioned, raising the global renewable capacity to 2,799 GW, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Almost two third of the new renewable capacities were installed in Asia (167.6 GW, corresponding to a 15% growth), followed by Europe (+34.3 GW, +6%), North America (+32.1 GW, +8%), South America (+9.4 GW, +4%), Oceania (+6.9 GW, +19%), Eurasia (+6.2 GW, +6%), the Middle east (+1.2 GW, +5%), Africa (+2.6 GW, +5%) and Central America and the Caribbean (+0.3 GW, +2%).
Turkey’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 3.1% in 2019 to 506 MtCO2eq, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. The energy sector is the largest contributor (72% in 2019) to emissions, followed by the agriculture sector (13%), the industrial processes and product use (11%) and waste (3%). GHG emissions have more than doubled since 1990 (220 MtCO2eq) and GHG emissions per capita have increased by more than 50% (from 4 tCO2eq to 6.1 tCO2eq in 2019).
Sweden’s solar photovoltaic capacity increased from nearly 700 MW in 2019 to over 1,090 MW in 2020, according to the national solar energy association Svensk Solenergi. The country added 392 MW of capacity in 2020, against 287 MW in 2019.