CO2 Emissions Reached The Highest Level In History In 2021 - EV Motors

CO2 Emissions Reached The Highest Level In History In 2021

 The world appears to be concerned about global emissions and is taking several measures to reduce them.

However, the latest International Energy Agency (IEA) report suggests that CO2 emissions from industrial processes and energy combustion reached an all-time high in 2021.
Increase In CO2 Emissions From 2020 to 2021

These emissions were recorded to be around 36.3 Gigatonnes (Gt). This is a 6% increase from the previous year. It is worth noting that the emissions levels for 2020 were 2.1 Gt lesser than those of 2021.

Previously, 2010 was the year when the most global emissions were recorded before this.

IEA’s Analysis Is Detail Oriented

IEA carried out fuel by fuel and region by region analysis [1]. This information was collected from:

  • Publicly available data;
  • Latest official data on a national basis.

COVID-19 pandemic reduced global emissions by 5.2%. However, the pandemic’s aftermath and attempts to recover from its effects resulted in a rapid increase in emission levels.

Emissions In 2021 Reversed The Effects Of 2020

The emission levels dropped down by approximately 1.9 Gt during the pandemic. However, the recent surge of emissions in 2021 has not only reversed that effect but has in fact taken it beyond that.

The global emissions increased so dramatically despite a global increase in the use of renewable energy sources.

Relation Between Economic Output & GDP Increase

In 2021, the global economic output also increased by 5.9%. This shows how the 6% increase in emissions is directly linked with the increase in GDP.

A similar situation was previously experienced in 2010. That year the world recovered from the global financial crisis.

Back then, the economic output of the world grew by 5.1% whereas the emissions also saw an increase of 6.1%.

Recovery From COVID-19 Was Not Sustainable

The economic sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 has been anything but sustainable.

The pandemic hurt economic activities, including industrial production. This resulted in a lot of people losing their jobs.

Several developed countries took drastic measures to ensure a quick recovery from the COVID-19 effects.

Many of them have been partially successful, the environmental consequences have been less than ideal.

The majority of countries continue to rely on coal for energy production. So when nations focused on doing whatever they could to recover from the effects of the COVID-19, energy-related CO2 emissions increased by more than 2 billion tonnes. [2]

IEA Executive Director’s Viewpoint Of The Matter In Early 2020

Fatih Birol is the Executive Director of IEA. He had previously highlighted the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during the early days of 2020. [3]
Post COVID-19 Situation Is Aggravating For Environmentalists

The world has partially recovered from the pandemic’s economic crises. However, environmentalists are concerned about the effects on the environment.

According to IEA’s tracking sustainable recoveries:

– The project from its inception to October 2021 raised a total of USD 800 billion to reduce the impact of the COVID-19;

– Out of all the funds that have been added in this regard, the G20 nations have played the most part by pitching in around 98% of the money.

Final Verdict

While humans are ecstatic about being able to recover economically from the effects of the pandemic, it is important to remember that CO2 emissions reached their highest level in history last year.

This means that when we look at the complete picture, we might have lost more than what we have gained.



  1. Global Energy Review: CO2 Emissions in 2021,
  2. Global CO2 emissions rebounded to their highest level in history in 2021,
  3. Put clean energy at the heart of stimulus plans to counter the coronavirus crisis, IEA, Paris


Sign up for monthly updates on EVs, exclusive tips for drivers and more!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *