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News and Publications on Environment and Climate Change


The environmental Agenda

Major growth of clean energy limited the rise in global emissions in 2023

Global energy-related CO2 emissions increased as exceptional droughts hit hydropower, but rise was lower than in 2022 thanks to expansion of technologies such as solar, wind & EVs.


Global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose less strongly in 2023 than the year before even as total energy demand growth accelerated, new IEA analysis shows, with continued expansion of solar PV, wind, nuclear power and electric cars helping the world avoid greater use of fossil fuels. Without clean energy technologies, the global increase in CO2 emissions in the last five years would have been three times larger.


According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 410 million tonnes, or 1.1%, in 2023 – compared with a rise of 490 million tonnes the year before – taking them to a record level of 37.4 billion tonnes.


An exceptional shortfall in hydropower due to extreme droughts – in China, the United States and several other economies – resulted in over 40% of the rise in emissions in 2023 as countries turned largely to fossil fuel alternatives to plug the gap. Had it not been for the unusually low hydropower output, global CO2 emissions from electricity generation would have declined last year, making the overall rise in energy-related emissions significantly smaller.


Advanced economies saw a record fall in their CO2 emissions in 2023 even as their GDP grew. Their emissions dropped to a 50-year low while coal demand fell back to levels not seen since the early 1900s. The decline in advanced economies’ emissions was driven by a combination of strong renewables deployment, coal-to-gas switching, energy efficiency improvements and softer industrial production. Last year was the first in which at least half of electricity generation in advanced economies came from low-emissions sources like renewables and nuclear.



How much will sea level rise due to climate change cost the EU and Greece in terms of GDP

A potential rise in sea levels due to climate change could cost the economies of the European Union and the United Kingdom up to €872 billion by 2100, according to a study published in the Nature group's journal Scientific Reports. Among the regions expected to be heavily affected is Greece.


According to the data, more than 200 million people in Europe - around 44% of the EU and UK populations - live within 50 km of the coastline and are therefore at risk of coastal flooding. In addition, these coastal areas contribute almost 40% of Europe's Gross Domestic Product, and 75% of Europe's international trade volume is conducted via maritime routes.


In the study, Greece was analysed at regional level for the economic impacts of sea level rise in a high emissions scenario up to 2100.


As pointed out, Greece as a country is close to the European average in terms of GDP decline, but shows significant losses in almost all of its regions, as they are coastal. In this extreme climate scenario studied, the largest economic impacts appear to be in Central Greece (-6.88%) and the northern Aegean (-6.06%). In Attica, the analysis shows zero impact.



EU: Countries to exit energy treaty over climate concerns

European Union countries agreed on Thursday to jointly quit an international energy treaty over concerns that it undermines efforts to fight climate change, officials said.


The 1998 Energy Charter Treaty, which allows energy companies to sue governments over policies that damage their investments, has in recent years been used to challenge moves that require shutting down fossil fuel plants.

Ministers from EU countries agreed to exit the treaty at a meeting in Brussels, two EU officials told Reuters.


The decision will now go to the European Parliament to seek lawmakers' consent. That is seen as highly likely because the EU assembly has previously urged it to leave the treaty.


Brussels first proposed a coordinated EU departure from the treaty in July, after member states including Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands announced plans to quit, with most citing climate change concerns.



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