In 2014, global carbon dioxide emissions from energy production stopped growing!
At least, that’s what preliminary data from the International Energy Agency say. It seems the big difference is China. The Chinese made more electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and burned less coal.
In fact, a report by Greenpeace says that from April 2014 to April 2015, China’s carbon emissions dropped by an amount equal to the entire carbon emissions of the United Kingdom!
I want to check this, because it would be wonderful if true: a 5% drop. They say that if this trend continues, China will close out 2015 with the biggest reduction in CO2 emissions every recorded by a single country.
The International Energy Agency also credits Europe’s improved attempts to cut carbon emissions for the turnaround. In the US, carbon emissions has basically been dropping since 2006—with a big drop in 2009 due to the economic collapse, a partial bounce-back in 2010, but a general downward trend.
In the last 40 years, there have only been 3 times in which emissions stood still or fell compared to the previous year, all during global economic crises: the early 1980’s, 1992, and 2009. In 2014, however, the global economy expanded by 3%.
So, the tide may be turning! But please remember: while carbon emissions may start dropping, they’re still huge. The amount of the CO2 in the air shot above 400 parts per million in March this year. As Erika Podest of NASA put it:
CO2 concentrations haven’t been this high in millions of years. Even more alarming is the rate of increase in the last five decades and the fact that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds or thousands of years. This milestone is a wake up call that our actions in response to climate change need to match the persistent rise in CO2. Climate change is a threat to life on Earth and we can no longer afford to be spectators.
Here is the announcement by the International Energy Agency:
• Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014, IEA, 13 March 2015.
Their full report on this subject will come out on 15 June 2015. Here is the report by Greenpeace EnergyDesk:
• China coal use falls: CO2 reduction this year could equal UK total emissions over same period, Greenpeace EnergyDesk.
I trust them less than the IEA when it comes to using statistics correctly, but someone should be able to verify their claims if true.