Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.1 billion tonnes in 2015, having remained essentially flat since 2013 according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Fatih Birol, Executive Director IEA, said:
“The new figures confirm last year’s surprising but welcome news: we now have seen two straight years of greenhouse gas emissions decoupling from economic growth. Coming just a few months after the landmark COP21 agreement in Paris, this is yet another boost to the global fight against climate change.”
Preliminary data suggest that electricity generated by renewables played a critical role, having accounted for around 90 per cent of new electricity generation in 2015. Wind alone produced more than half of new electricity generation.
IEA writes in a press release:
“In parallel, the global economy continued to grow by more than 3 per cent, offering further evidence that the link between economic growth and emissions growth is weakening.”
The two largest emitters, China and the United States, both registered a decline in energy-related CO2 in 2015. In China, emissions declined by 1.5 per cent, as coal use dropped for the second year in a row.
In the United States, emissions declined by 2 per cent, as a large switch from coal to natural gas use in electricity generation took place.
The decline observed in the two major emitters was offset by increasing emissions in most other Asian developing economies and the Middle East, and also a moderate increase in Europe.