Despite widespread expectations of another increase, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions stopped growing in 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.
The US recorded the largest emissions decline on a country basis, with a fall of 140 million tonnes, or 2.9 per cent. After two years of growth, global emissions were unchanged at 33 gigatonnes in 2019 even as the world economy expanded by 2.9 per cent.
This was primarily due to declining emissions from electricity generation in advanced economies, thanks to the expanding role of renewable sources, mainly wind and solar, fuel switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power generation.
Other factors included milder weather in several countries, and slower economic growth in some emerging markets.
“We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.
“We have the energy technologies to do this, and we have to make use of them all. The IEA is building a grand coalition focused on reducing emissions — encompassing governments, companies, investors and everyone with a genuine commitment to tackling our climate challenge.”
A significant decrease in emissions in advanced economies in 2019 offset continued growth elsewhere.