Worldwide CO2 emissions remained flat in 2016

29th September 2017


The global CO2 emission rate remained more or less flat last year having stalled since in 2014, according to a report published today by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

It shows that the five largest emitting countries and the EU together accounted for 68% of carbon emissions in 2016, while the 20 biggest economies were responsible for 81%.

China, the world’s biggest emitter, saw its rate decrease by 0.3% last year, and there were also falls of 2% in the US and 2.1% in Russia, while EU emissions remained static.

However, this was largely due to the UK’s performance, with the country experiencing a decrease of 6.4% after cutting its coal consumption by half.

In contrast, the largest absolute increases of 4.7% and 6.4% were seen in India and Indonesia respectively, while there were smaller rises in the Philippines, Malaysia, Turkey and Ukraine.

“For many of the largest emitting countries, this is a continuation of the trend of 2015,” the report says. “In contrast to most of the main emitters, the emissions from the rest of the world show a rising trend.”

The UK data reflects that shown in a report from PwC, which reveals the British economy’s carbon intensity fell by 7.7% last year – almost three times the global average of 2.6% and greater than any other country in the G20.

This was largely due to a decline in coal consumption, improved energy efficiency and moderate economic growth, according to the professional services company.

It was also found that the UK leads the G20 in having the highest decarbonisation rate since 2000, falling by 3.7% each year – significantly better than the average reductions needed by countries to meet their Paris Climate Agreement targets.

During that time, renewable energy has more than tripled, and the economy has grown by more than 31%, while coal now represents just 7% of the country’s total energy consumption, down from 23% in 2012.

There has also been strong growth in the services sector, which currently represents 80% of GDP, and is relatively low-carbon compared to manufacturing and industry.

PwC director of climate change, Jonathan Grant, said: "The UK led the world in the industrial revolution and is now leading the low-carbon revolution."

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