'Grounds for optimism': global carbon emissions level out despite growing economy

The growth of renewable energy and fuel switching from coal to natural gas led to less emissions from advanced economies

The growth of renewable energy and fuel switching from coal to natural gas led to less emissions from advanced economies

Global energy-related emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide remained steady previous year, with declines in rich countries balancing out a rise in poor nations, according to data published Tuesday.

After two years of growth, global emissions remained unchanged at 33 gigatons in 2019, even as the world economy grew by 2.9 percent.

The agency, which advises mostly oil and gas importing countries on energy issues, attributed the flat growth to the greater role of renewable sources in power generation, fuel switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power generation.

"We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth", Dr. Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA, said in a statement.

He emphasized that the initiative would make coal plants smaller and more efficient, and also look for alternative uses for the fossil fuel which was once a livelihood to millions of families throughout coal country, but is now becoming a much smaller part of the US energy sector. Emission in the European Union fell by 160 million tons, or five percent, driven by reductions in the power sector.

The growth of renewable energy and fuel switching from coal to natural gas led to lower emissions from advanced economies.

Canada's carbon emissions were not available in the press release.

Despite the general decline in carbon emissions in advanced economies in Europe and the USA, however, carbon emissions grew by almost 400 million tons in the rest of the world in 2019, with almost 80% of the increase coming from Asia, where countries increased their use of coal.

The flatlining of emissions can be largely explained by the increased use of sustainable energy resources in the advanced economies of Europe and the USA, which offset an increase in emissions in the rest of the world.

The new data comes at a crucial time as Canadians are fighting over a gas pipeline export project in B.C., that is expected to help Asian countries switch from coal to natural gas.

Despite how there has been widespread expectations of there being another increase in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2019, this exciting new research says the rate actually stopped growing.

United Nations climate scientists say that global greenhouse emissions would need to fall by 7.6% every year between now and 2030 to stop temperatures rising to levels that will cause severe climate change in the coming decades.

Emissions from the power industry in advanced economies fell to levels last seen in the late 1980s, when electricity demand was one third lower than today, the IEA said.

One of the most comprehensive scientific studies on carbon emissions had predicted a total of almost 37 gigatons of human-made greenhouse gas emissions during 2019.

"This welcome halt in emissions growth is grounds for optimism that we can tackle the climate challenge this decade", Birol said.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.