Global energy-related carbon dioxide stayed flat in 2015 – the second year in a row – according to the International Energy Association (IEA)
The preliminary data released yesterday by the IEA shows CO2 emissions from energy related activity – the largest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions – stood at 32.1 billion tonnes in 2015, having remained essentially flat since 2013. The figures suggest the surge in renewable energy, as well as improvements in energy efficiency, were responsible for the levelling. Renewable energy accounted for around 90% of new electricity generation in 2015; wind alone produced more than half of new electricity generation.
IEA executive director Fatih Birol said the figures suggested that economic growth was “decoupling” from carbon emissions.“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,” he said. “Coming just a few months after the landmark COP21 agreement in Paris, this is yet another boost to the global fight against climate change.”
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%, as coal use dropped for the second year in a row, while ;ow-carbon sources jumped from 19% to 28%. In the United States, emissions declined by 2%, as the country switched from coal to natural gas use in electricity generation.
The IEA said it would provide a more detailed analysis of the data in a World Energy Outlook special report on energy and air quality that will be released at the end of June.