Emissions stall despite economic growth


By Courtney Pearson

GLOBAL carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector stalled last year for the first time in 40 years due to changing energy consumption, preliminary International Energy Agency (IEA) figures revealed.

Carbon dioxide emissions remained at 32.3 billion tonnes last year, the same as 2013, despite the global economy expanding by 3 per cent.

During the 40 years the IEA has been collecting data there have been three times when emissions stalled or fell, each time associated with economic downturn.

“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,” IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said.

China generated more electricity from renewable sources including hydropower, solar and wind and burned fewer fossil fuels.

In countries belonging to the Organisation for the Economic Cooperation and Development efforts for sustainable growth were “producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions”, the IEA stated.

“The preliminary IEA data suggests that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought,” The IEA stated.

Last month was the 30th consecutive year that average monthly temperatures worldwide were warmer than average. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) ranked last year as the hottest on record.

“Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have all been this century,” WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud said.

“We expect global warming to continue, given that rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the increasing heat content of the oceans are committing us to a warmer future.”