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Global energy emissions stall for second year in row while economy continues to grow

Date
16 March 2016
Global energy emissions stall for second year in row while economy continues to grow

LONDON: Global energy-related emissions stalled for the second consecutive year while the economy continues to grow, preliminary data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows.

Last year the world emitted 32,137 million tons (Mt) of emissions – almost the same than 2014, with 32,134 Mt – while the economy continued to grow at a rate of about 3%, according to IEA.

The news comes just months after the historic Paris Agreement at COP21, where countries committed to keep global warming well below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees Celsius.

“This latest data from the IEA unequivocally confirm a message that The Climate Group has been highlighting for many years: that addressing climate change does not mean damaging the economy”, said Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group. “The shift toward a low carbon economy is underway and there is no turning back. The surge of investments in the green sector is another clear signal that businesses and governments understand that the only economy of the future is a low carbon one.

“However, to implement what was agreed in Paris we need to act now, act fast and act decisively.  This is the only way we will ensure that the long-term objective of Net Zero global emissions will be reached. The Climate Group will continue to work with forward-thinking leaders that want to be at the forefront of the next wave of opportunities arising from the low carbon economy.”

IEA decoupling 2016

Image: Global energy-related CO2 emissions (million tons), data from IEA; annual GDP growth (%), data from the World Bank. * IEA 2014/2015 and World Bank 2015 data are preliminary. Elaboration by The Climate Group.

Last year IEA announced that for the first time in 40 years, pollutant emissions and economic growth started to decouple. Today’s news reinforces this trend, highlighting the role that renewables are playing in boosting the economy while slowing emissions growth.

IEA’s data shows that about 90% of new electricity generation in 2015 came from renewables – particluarly wind, which accounted for more than half of it. The wind sector played a fundamental role in China in particular last year, when the biggest polluter to date hit a new capacity record while its emissions declined 1.5% and coal use dropped for the second year in a row.

by Ilario D'Amato

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