Dominion Energy to seek zero emissions by 2050

Pablo Tucker
February 14, 2020

Back in 2019, the global energy-linked carbon dioxide emissions paused significantly, according to the International Energy Agency's recent report.

In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that the US decrease in emissions was the largest total of any country, at 140 million tons.

"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", the Paris-based energy watchdog declared in press release this morning.

"We want 2019 to be remembered as the year of peak in global emissions and the 2020's as the decade of the decline in emissions".

Global Carbon Budget, released at the United Nations climate summit (COP25) in Madrid on December 4, 2019, showed Turkey ranking 15th in carbon emissions in 2018 with about 430 million tons of CO2. From 2025 to 2050, electric power sector carbon dioxide emissions remain relatively constant as the more economically viable coal power plants stay in service.

Other factors outside of the energy transition also contributed to the flatlining of emissions, though, meaning that a year ago could represent a blip in emissions growth, rather than a definitive peak, IEA chief economist Laszlo Varro argued in his analysis of the report.

The latest data prompted surprise from IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, as well as cautious optimism that global emissions may have finally reached their peak. US-related emissions dropped by 2.9% or 140 million tonnes within this period.

European Union emissions fell by 160 million tonnes or 5 per cent last year from a year earlier due to more use of natural gas and wind power in electricity generation. Coal-fired power generation in advanced economies fell by almost 15 per cent as a result of growth in renewables, coal-to-gas switching, a rise in nuclear power and weaker electricity demand.

While this is no time for advanced economies to rest on their laurels, the data suggests that emerging economies will have to play a greater role in reducing carbon emissions, given that majority of the higher carbon emissions are originating from developing economies.

Japan's emissions fell by 45 million tonnes, or around 4 per cent, as output from recently restarted nuclear reactors increased.

Aside from the Outlook, the IEA has said it is keen to create a "grand coalition" of governments, companies and investors seeking to align with the Paris Agreement.

Despite the general decline in carbon emissions in advanced economies in Europe and the US, however, carbon emissions grew by almost 400 million tons in the rest of the world in 2019, with almost 80% of the increase coming from Asia, where countries increased their use of coal. "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".

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