Strong fall in CO2 emissions in the United States in 2020
2020 CO2 emissions fell significantly (-4.9%) below their 2012 level
In 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak had a tremendous impact on CO2 emissions (-4.9%), especially in the first half of the year, when widespread lockdown measures, transport restrictions and the economic slowdown significantly reduced oil consumption in the transport sector. CO2 emissions also contracted in the power sector, owing to a lower electricity demand and to the continued decline in the carbon factor (CO2 emissions per kWh produced), mainly due to fuel switching from coal to gas and the rising share of renewables in the global power mix. Most of the reduction in emissions occurred in the USA (-11%) and Europe (-11%, with significant cuts in Germany, Spain, and the UK), due to a much lower coal-fired power generation and higher CO2 prices in 2020. CO2 emissions also fell in India (-5.5%, due to the lower coal-fired power generation and oil product consumption), Russia and Canada (reduced power generation and strong drop in oil production and consumption), in Japan and South Korea (rising share of renewables in the power mix). They also contracted in Indonesia, in Latin America (especially in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina), in Africa (strong decline in South Africa) and in the Middle East (notably in Saudi Arabia, where oil consumption decreased significantly). On the contrary, CO2 emissions rose for the fourth year in a row in China (+1.6%), due to a rapidly recovering energy demand and a steady coal-fired power generation, despite a new surge in renewable power generation. China accounted for 31% of global CO2 emissions in 2020.
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According to preliminary statistics from the Indian Ministry of Coal, India’s production of non-coking coal and lignite declined by 1.7% in the fiscal year 2020-21 to 708 Mt, including 671 Mt of non-coking coal (-1%) and 37 Mt of lignite (-12%). Of the total output of non-coking coal, 96% was produced the public sector, including 83% by Coal India Limited (CIL). Most of the lignite was extracted by NLC India Limited (53%). The country imported 164 Mt of non-coking coal in 2020-21 (-17%), mainly from Indonesia (56%), South Africa (19%) and Australia (11%).
Spain’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (including LULUCF) decreased by 13.7% in 2020 to 271.5 MtCO2eq (-6.4% compared to 1990 level), according to preliminary data from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO). This drop is due to an increase renewable electricity generation, the fall in coal use, and activity and mobility limitations associations with the COVID-19 pandemic. CO2 accounted for 78% of total GHG emissions in 2020, followed by methane (14%). Transport represented 28% of total GHG emissions in 2020, followed by industry (21%), agriculture and livestock (14%), electricity generation (10%), households and services (8%) and waste (5%). GHG emissions from installations subject to the EU ETS declined by 18.7% in 2020 compared to 2019. Emissions from diffuse sectors decreased by 10% and those from dometic air transport nearly halved in 2020 (-48%). The LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry) sector is estimated to have removed 13.5% of Spain’s gross GHG emissions (36.6 MtCO2eq).
South Korea’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions declined by 7.3% in 2020 to 649 MtCO2eq (i.e. -10.9% compared with the 2018 peak of 729 MtCO2eq). GHG emissions have been driven down by South Korea's energy and industrial sectors (-7.8% and -7.1%, respectively). In the power sector, total emissions decreased by 12.4% due to temporary shutdowns of coal-fired power plants resulting in lower coal-fired power generation and due to an increased renewable power generation. Emissions from the transport sector (included in the energy sector) contracted by 4.1%, owing to reduced travel (COVID-19-related restrictions) and the continuous deployment of low-emission vehicles. Residential emissions grew by only 0.3%, while emissions from business and public sectors fell by 9.9%. In the industrial sector (-7.1%), the reduced activity affected the energy-intensive branches such as chemicals (7.6% drop in GHG emissions), steel (-2.5%) and cement (-8.9%).
Australia's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions dipped by 5% in 2020 (-26.1 MtCO2eq) to 499 MtCO2eq, according to the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. GHG emissions from the power sector declined by 4.9% but still accounted for a third of total GHG emissions in Australia. In addition, fugitive emissions (10% of total GHG emissions in 2020) declined by 8.8%, partly due to a lower coal production, and emissions from transport (18% of total GHG emissions in 2020) contracted by 12.1%, because of COVID-19 restrictions. In 2020, Australia's GHG emissions stood 20.1% below their 2005 level (the baseline year for the Paris Agreement). The country has committed to reduce its emissions by 26-28% by 2030 from 2005 levels.