Global average temperature has risen by approximately 1°C since the late 19th century
Global weather patterns change over time, driven by natural and human factors. The long-term measurement of weather in a region is known as its climate. Changes to the climate are likely to result in disruptions to water resources, ecosystems and crop yields, as well as increased weather-related extremes, vulnerability of marginalised populations and sea level rise. Human activities including the use of fossil fuels for energy as well as agriculture, deforestation and other industries are releasing increased amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Elevated concentrations of these gases trap increased solar radiation in the atmosphere and are the primary cause of warming of the Earth, and particularly the oceans (IPCC).
Current scientific evidence suggests there is a higher risk of significant and possibly dangerous changes in the global environment if the global temperature rise passes a 2°C threshold compared to pre-industrial times. Significant efforts by the international community are underway to avoid the worst impacts of climate change; to achieve this, harnessing energy in ways that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases is crucial. Since 1992, most countries have been part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty providing a framework for international cooperation for combating climate change. This was followed by the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 which commits its developed country Parties to internationally binding emission reduction targets, and the Paris Agreement in 2015 which sets out an international action plan to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Reaching these targets would require emission patterns to change throughout the global economy. Key opportunities for the energy sector lie in demand side interventions such as energy efficiency and flexible systems, as well as renewable energy sources.
Learn more about climate change and emissions by exploring our Energy Insights.
For details on the progress in achieving the global and national climate change targets read the New Energy World analyses.
Discover UK energy professionals' views of the best measures to reach emissions targets by reading our annual Energy Barometer.
warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century (NASA)
metric tonnes of ice per year between 2002 and 2020 has been shed from the Antarctic ice sheet (NASA)
of greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector in 2021 were CO2 emissions from energy combustion and industrial processes (IEA)
of natural gas was flared in 2020, about equal to Central and South America’s gas demand (IEA)
Europe’s largest concentrated solar thermal platform online
Located at a packaging and materials production plant in Turnhout, Belgium, the newly commissioned CST facility features 2,240 surface mirrors, with a...
China’s solar capacity expected to top 1 TW by 2026
Recent modelling by Rystad shows that new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2023 is expected to top 150 GW in China, almost doubling the 87 GW insta...
Disappointment as no bids for offshore wind in latest UK government renewables auction
The CfD scheme is the UK government’s flagship mechanism for supporting new British low-carbon electricity generation projects. It is designed to deli...
UAE invests to help unlock Africa’s clean energy potential
The new UAE investment initiative, announced during Al Jaber's keynote address at the inaugural African Climate Summit in Nairobi, brings together pub...
Call for G20 leaders to discuss introduction of fossil fuel subsidies
G20 members spent a record $1.4tn in public money to support fossil fuels in 2022 and could raise an additional $1tn/y by establishing a carbon tax fl...
Events and training
EI LIVE | Greening energy service stations: A framework to meet UNSDGs
The energy and fuel retail sector is one of many industries that will undergo considerable disruption in the next decade to meet the emerging challeng...
Technical guidance publications
Energy retail station sites green guide: opportunities to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
The energy and fuel retail sector is one of many industries expected to undergo considerable disruption in the next decade to meet the emerging challe...
Tripod lite: A ‘lite’ tool for investigating simple incidents, events and near misses
This publication is free to download. Register or log in, then click 'download'.Note: this will download a document 'landing page' that inc...
Research report: Application of life cycle assessment methodology to the understanding of the energy balance and efficiency of hydrogen value chain building blocks
This document is free to download for registered users.This publication explores the efficiencies of the hydrogen energy system and quantifies the ene...
Waste to products – Technology and economic assessment (phase 1)
This document is free to download for registered users.The EMG and Soil Wastes and Groundwater group (SWG) of the EI and Concawe have commissioned E4t...
High level framework for process safety management
In 2010 the EI's Process Safety Committee identified a benefit in promoting a common high-level framework for PSM across the energy industry sectors. ...