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Climate change and emissions

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 records published on our Energy Matrix.

For details on the progress in achieving the global and national climate change targets read the Energy World analyses.

Discover UK energy professionals' views of the best measures to reach emissions targets by reading our annual Energy Barometer.

What's new?

New ultra-low emission zone in central London

9-04-2019
A new ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) is now in force in central London, covering the same area as the congestion charge. Drivers of older, more polluting vehicles are being charged to enter the ULEZ area at any time – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.Most vehicles, including ...

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Higher energy demand drove up global CO2 emissions in 2018

8-04-2019
Global energy demand grew by 2.3% in 2018, its fastest pace this decade, thanks to a strong global economy and higher demand for heating and cooling, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA)  second annual report on global energy trends. Natural gas emerged as the fuel of choic...

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New fuel pairs emissions reduction with energy efficiency

3-04-2019
Eni and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have teamed up to develop ‘A20’, a new fuel offering a low level of emissions due to its 15% methanol and 5% bio-ethanol alcohol content. According to the companies, the new alternative fuel emits up to 3% less  CO2 exhaust emissions quantified using...

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EU carbon market emissions dropped 4.2% in 2018

1-04-2019
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary installations regulated under the Europen Union’s (EU) carbon market decreased by 4.2% last year to 1,679mn tonnes, according to the carbon research team at Refinitiv.In the power and heat sector, 2018 emissions came in at 893mn tonnes, down 61mn tonnes...

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European Parliament backs tighter emissions limits for cars and vans

1-04-2019
Plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and vans by 2030, already informally agreed with EU ministers, were approved by MEPs on Wednesday.MEPs and EU ministers have agreed on new higher targets to reduce EU fleet-wide emissions for new cars and vans by 2030. The new legislation sets...

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Events and training

Meeting the UK’s long-term climate change targets – a review

22-05-2019
Debate and discuss the outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report.

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Financing challenges for a transforming energy industry

5-06-2019
Attend to discuss the latest challenges and financial solutions that will manage risks and facilitate the development of the future energy mix to meet consumers’ requirements.

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Technical guidance publications

Guidance for corrosion management in oil and gas production and processing

2019
*This publication has a large file size, please allow extra time for the PDF to download*This second edition of the EI's Guidance on corrosion management in oil and gas production and processing provides general principles and essential engineering guidance and requirements for improving corrosion m...

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Design, construction, modification, maintenance and decommissioning of filling stations (known as the Blue Book)

2018
The fourth edition of Design, construction, modification, maintenance and decommissioning of filling stations (also known as the Blue Book) is essential reading for all those involved in the design, construction, modification, maintenance and decommissioning of facilities for the storage and dispens...

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Guidance on conceptual design, selection and life cycle assurance of products intended to improve integrity of bases of above-ground storage tanks holding petroleum, petroleum products or other fuels

2018
This publication is intended primarily for use by process safety specialists, designers, inspectors, regulators and operators and owners of facilities holding bulk stores of petroleum, petroleum products or other fuels in above-ground storage tanks (ASTs).The information provided in this public...

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Fuels for gas turbine engines

2018
Published by Landfall Press; Author: Eric Goodger. Please note that an erratum was issued in December 2018 for this publication, it is available for download and present in the full PDF. This change has been incorporated into the full PDF.Since its emergence during WW2 as a viable alternative t...

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Guidelines for the uplift of petroleum, petroleum products and other fuels from retail filling stations and customers' tanks

2018
These guidelines have been prepared on the basis that most product uplift operations are outsourced to specialist uplift contractors by clients who encounter them infrequently. For the former, they identify hazards and necessary control measures, including specifications for appropriate equipment, a...

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