Global CO2 stalls in 2014
Global emissions of CO2 from the energy sector stalled in 2014, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The IEA said emissions have stood still or fallen compared to the previous year only three times in the past 40 years – 1980s; 1992 and 2009 – and on each occasion the pause or reduction was associated with global economic weakness.
Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year despite the global economy growing by 3%.
The preliminary data suggest that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought, the IEA said.
"This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today," said IEA chief economist Fatih Birol.
The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries.
A larger proportion of electricity in China last year was generated by renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less was from burning coal. In OECD economies, meanwhile, the IEA said that efforts to promote more sustainable growth, including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy, are succeeding in decoupling economic growth from rising greenhouse-gas emissions.
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey said: “These figures show that green growth is achievable not just for Britain but for the world. However we cannot be complacent, we need to dramatically cut emissions, not just stop their growth.
“Getting a new global climate deal is absolutely vital, and the year ahead is going to be of critical importance. The UK must stay the course and continue to show strong, decisive leadership in Europe and globally.”
The IEA is due to publish the full data in a report on energy and climate on 15 June.
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