Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 6% in 2021 to 36.3 billion tonnes, their highest ever level, as economies recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic and the use of coal increased, according to a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report.

The increase of more than 2 billion tonnes was the greatest in absolute terms and more than offsets the previous year’s pandemic-induced decline, new analysis from the Paris-based agency showed.

The recovery of energy demand last year was compounded by poor weather and spikes in natural gas prices, which led to more coal being burned despite renewable power generation registering its largest ever growth.