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Surging Electricity Demand to Boost Emissions as Coal Use Climbs

  • CO2 to increase in 2021 after two years of declines, IEA says
  • Increase threatens efforts to reach net-zero targets by 2050
The Golmud Solar Park In Qinghai, One Of China's Six Clean Energy Pilots
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Global electricity consumption will surge this year as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, with fossil fuels supplying almost half the increase in a shift that threatens ambitious net-zero carbon emission targets.

Power demand will climb almost 5% in 2021 after sliding 1% last year, according to a report Thursday from the International Energy Agency. Most of the growth will come from Asia where strong demand for coal is keeping the dirtiest fossil fuel the world’s biggest source of electricity.