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?

AI and climate change

1-03-2020
Artificial intelligence (AI) may be able to help the energy sector deal with carbon pricing and emissions reduction complexities, writes Keith Nuthall.

Read more »

Reducing emissions with CCS – a role for oil and gas

1-03-2020
The UK’s oil and gas developers have the skills and experience to help deploy CCS at scale. Rebecca Bell looks at how the industry could work to ensure an equitable energy transition.

Read more »

Teenage 'Anti-Greta' to confront climate change activists at conference in America

25-02-2020
America is about to be introduced to a climate change sceptic, Naomi Seibt, who will appear at the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC], this week. Miss Seibt, from Germany, has been dubbed the "anti-Greta" because of her views on climate change, which are in stark contrast to t...

Read more »

BP unveils new emissions targets and new company structure

12-02-2020
BP’s new Group Chief Executive Bernard Looney recently unveiled his ambition for BP to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or sooner in response to the climate emergency. ‘The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast. We need a rapid transition to net zero’, Looney sa...

Read more »

Global CO2 emissions static in 2019

11-02-2020
Despite widespread expectations of another increase, global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions stopped growing in 2019, according to the latest data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).After two years of growth, global emissions were unchanged at 33 GT in 2019 even as the worl...

Read more »

Events and training

Energy Policy Debate: The first 100 days of a new Government and its energy policy

21-04-2020
At this Energy Policy Debate, expert speakers will discuss key progress/decisions made in energy by the Government so far.

Read more »

Electrification for Net Zero

8-10-2020
A number of countries are making commitments to move to a net zero emissions economy. There are many ways to help bring emissions to net-zero which will be discussed during this conference. 

Read more »

Technical guidance publications

Battery storage guidance note 2: Battery energy storage system fire planning and response

2020
This publication is free to download. Please log in to see the download option.This publication provides guidance on how to respond to BESS fires. It represents the 'current state' of knowledge (in 2019), but also identifies gaps in knowledge. The guidance covers primarily non-domestic battery insta...

Read more »

Guidance on human factors safety critical task analysis

2020
This publication is free to download, please log in to see the download option.The first edition of Guidance on human factors safety critical task analysis filled a gap by enabling companies and human factors (HF) non-specialists to conduct quality HF analyses in a structured and consistent format. ...

Read more »

Model Code of Safe Practice Part 2: Guidance on the design, construction and operation of petroleum distribution installations

2019
EI Model Code of Safe Practice Part 2: Guidance on the design, construction and operation of petroleum distribution installations has been developed to provide guidance and good practice in the layout, design and construction of distribution installations and their equipment. It also provides certai...

Read more »

A model syllabus for the training of technicians involved in the examination, testing, maintenance and repair of petroleum road tankers

2019
The third edition of the syllabus is essential reading for all those involved in road tanker fleet operations, maintenance and repair workshops, and those with responsibility for the training of road tanker technicians.It has been developed to provide companies that undertake the maintenance of petr...

Read more »

HM 60. Guidelines for the auditing of measurement systems for oil and gas streams

2019
This publication has been produced as a high level guideline on auditing for use by all of those involved in the measurement process in the upstream oil and gas industry.Measurement system auditing is a critical activity for all operators producing hydrocarbons to ensure financial interests are prot...

Read more »

Visit our publishing site »

You may also be interested in