Environment

New report reveals pause in rise of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019

New report reveals pause in ri...
A new report says that there was a pause in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019
A new report says that there was a pause in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019
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A new report says that there was a pause in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019
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A new report says that there was a pause in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019

According to the latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2019 global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions stayed steady from the previous year. That’s cause for some cautious optimism, as it’s better than continued growth, of course, but this could still be just a pause rather than the start of the long-term downward trend that we need.

To prevent the very worst-case scenarios of climate change from coming to pass, we need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions as quickly as possible. In 2015, the Paris Agreement put a target cap on warming this century, and outlined the amount of CO2 emission reductions needed to meet that goal.

A rise of 2° C (3.6° F) above pre-industrial levels was set as the safe limit, which would require CO2 emissions be kept to under 42 gigatons in 2030. Sadly, we currently look primed to shoot way past that, sending us towards a rise of as much as 3.4° C (6.12° F) by the end of the century.

And yet, even knowing this full-well, global emissions have continued to rise year over year. That means that not only have we not begun to solve the problem, on the whole we’re still actively making it worse.

However, there is a small glimmer of hope in the latest IEA report. The agency says that in 2019, global emissions stayed on 33 gigatons, the same as in 2018. This is a nice change of pace, after solid growth in the previous two years.

The report explains that the declining emissions were mostly due to “advanced economies” making the switch to renewable energy sources. Wind and solar played bigger roles, more countries switched from coal to natural gas, and there were higher rates of nuclear power generation.

Interestingly, emissions broke even thanks to declines in some regions offsetting growth in others. The US recorded the largest emissions decline of any individual country, dropping by 140 million tonnes. The European Union fell by 160 million tonnes, while Japan cut emissions by 45 million tonnes. These promising declines were offset, however, by the rest of the world, where emissions grew by as much as 400 million tonnes. Almost 80 percent of that, the report says, came from countries in Asia.

Overall, a pause in the rise of emissions is at least on the right track towards being good news, but on its own it’s hardly enough. Single-year pauses have happened in the past, before emissions go right on rising the following year. Still, it’s encouraging to see that our efforts in curbing emissions can have a positive effect.

“This welcome halt in emissions growth is grounds for optimism that we can tackle the climate challenge this decade,” says Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of IEA. “It is evidence that clean energy transitions are underway – and it’s also a signal that we have the opportunity to meaningfully move the needle on emissions through more ambitious policies and investments. 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.”

The IEA report is available online, and a follow-up World Energy Outlook Special Report will be published in June.

Source: IEA

7 comments
Mike Johnson
Try to avoid speculation and opinion. Heavy Industry and those that are also energy intensive are migrating to low cost energy jurisdictions . Energy generation in the less developed economies will tend to set the levels of industrial emissions.
Coupon clipping financialized entitlement collectors will otherwise generate less carbon dioxide due to idleness as opposed to any sort of intention.
Carbon emissions may or may not rise slowly and steadily but it is not a suitable format for political factions and strife as you have nothing whatsoever to do with Aluminum smelting in Bahrain or Vietnam.
Many people are prone to free floating anxiety as part of their personality not really attributable so avoid reasoning that your mood disorders are due to industrialization as such disorders are part and parcel of our long and troubled evolution.
bwana4swahili
" The US recorded the largest emissions decline of any individual country, dropping by 140 million tonnes."

And without the bullshit of a Carbon Tax grab or other economy killing 'incentive'!!
buzzclick
Don't get your hopes up boys and girls. We need to see this downward trend last for at least 5-10 years. It's good to be optimistic, and even better to be a skeptic.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
I just feel so sorry for the plant life of Earth, which will have less CO2 to thrive upon in the future! I have been doing my best to breathe less in an effort to reduce my contribution, so trying to do my part! (Unfortunately, this has been more than offset by an increase in flatulent activity due to a latent love of Hispanic and Asian cuisine. Dang my ancestral urges!)
El Nacho
Great! All we need now is empirical evidence based on ACTUAL replicable experiments that finally prove how lowering anthropogenic CO2 emissions would somehow slow down or stop the planet's 4.5 billion year old climate from changing. Until then.... be afraid.... be very, very afraid... well, maybe just very afraid....
ljaques
"A new report says that there was a pause in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019" (shows picture of steam release) I love science!
Every day, more and more old pollution control devices die and are replaced by brand new, state-of-the-art devices which emit fewer pollutants, including the OMG-evil See Oh Too! Now that everyone in the world is aware of the fact that pollutants are bad for the Earth, most of them are taking steps to reduce their creation and output. I wish Alarmists would acknowledge that. As more electric cars hit the worldwide roads, and wind power develops lithium fields of batteries for backup, and coal plants are idled, everyone should get what they're after without spending Trillions on false green programs which do exactly ZERO in the grand scheme of things. Kudos to the world for less pollution (and for less CO2).
Worzel
The world needs a drop in CO2 like it needs a nuclear war! Plant life, worldwide, is already suffering significant malnutrition from lack of CO2. Thankfully however, as human produced CO2 is a small (1%) of total, its unlikely that any reduction in human output will have any significant effect on the world. As for electric cars, they actually INCREASE the output of CO2, because they have to use electricity from power-stations, most of which burn hydrocarbons of one sort or another, and due to I squared R losses in the grid system, end up using more hydrocarbon than if it was burned directly in an IC engine. Trump has the right idea for cooling the planet, plant trillions of trees. However with today's low level of CO2, they will be struggling to grow at any useful rate. In fact, due to the cooling of the planet that started 40 million years or so ago, CO2 level will continue to fall, long term, as it has done over that time, regardless of the tiny portion occupied by human activity. Also, as the next glacial period is close, humans should be very worried, as this will cause CO2 released by the oceans to reduce significantly, and without CO2, all land life on the planet will cease!