UCF Global Perspectives


Carbon Emissions Hits Record High

John Heinbockel, Alexandra Cousteau Environmental and Global Climate Change Fellow

March 27, 2019

According to the International Energy Agency, carbon emissions reached the highest level ever in 2018 (GCR). China, the United States, and India accounted for 85 percent of the carbon emissions due to increasing energy demand because of global economic growth (USA Today). The report said burning coal in electric was the largest contributor to the carbon levels, accounting for over 30 percent of carbon emitted in 2018 (Economist). Europe and Japan were the leaders in reducing emissions, with Europe reducing carbon emissions by 1.3 percent (GCR).

Although electric vehicle use is rising, the electricity comes from coal burning plants, particularly in the United States and China. New coal burning plants are the response to meet demand in Asia, including plans to keep coal-burning plants operating for another 40 years (Economist). Despite this, renewable energy sources continue to grow at double digit rates year over year, with solar energy growing 31 percent in 2018 (USA Today). However, demand for electricity grew at its fastest pace in this decade, and renewable sources are unable to meet the demand unless officials take urgent action (GCR).





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