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Jun 20, 2024, 12:09pm EDT
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Semafor Signals

World fossil fuel consumption reaches all-time high as global temperatures soar

Insights from The Wire India, The Hill, Los Angeles Times, and BloombergNEF


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REUTERS/Jennifer Hiller
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The News

Fossil fuel use reached a record high in 2023, despite a significant expansion in renewable energy infrastructure, according to a new report from the Energy Institute.

Growing demand for fossil fuels — powered by developing countries’ growing economies and global conflict — is a sticking point for world governments trying to transition to clean power and environmental activists alike, as the effects of climate change become more tangible and millions face crippling heat waves and other extreme weather.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

India singled out in fossil fuel expansion

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Source:  
The Wire India

Emerging economies, notably India, are the top culprits in the surge of fossil fuel use. India is now the third largest user of solar power worldwide, yet the country plans to fire-up an additional 13.9 gigawatts of energy via new coal plants this year, Reuters reported — the biggest bump in six years. The government claims it needs coal because it is short on other energy sources, but that narrative “stems entirely from mismanagement of existing coal resources,” experts told The Wire India. Rather than construct new plants, India could better allocate coal to existing plants and then focus on building battery storage to support renewable energy — initiatives the government hasn’t considered, the Wire argued.

Ukraine war could keep Europe hooked on US fossil fuels

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Sources:  
Politico, The Hill

Europe has largely turned to the United States for energy resources since most of the continent decided to stop using Russian oil and gas following its invasion of Ukraine. While US President Joe Biden has put a temporary pause on approving new liquified natural gas projects inside the US, exports of gas to Europe are up 50% since the war began, Politico reported. Meanwhile, the Texas oil and gas industry has produced record amounts of fossil fuels, selling a record-breaking 32 billion cubic feet of gas in May.

Infrastructure concerns puts key EV transition in limbo

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Sources:  
BloombergNEF, Los Angeles Times

Electric vehicles are a key component of the transition away from fossil fuels, but a lack of EV infrastructure in the United States means that many owners now have “buyers’ remorse,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In California, where most EV owners live in the US, EV sales have dropped over the last six months till April, and almost 40% of EV owners say that they would consider switching back to a gas-powered vehicle, the Times reported, citing a McKinsey report. The transition could stall further: EVs have become a frequent target of Republican lawmakers and commentators, and the “upcoming presidential election helped slow down adoption this year,” according to BloombergNEF.

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