Global emissions in 2019 'flatline', IEA finds

Pablo Tucker
February 12, 2020

Between 2007 and 2019, the developed countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have cut carbon dioxide emissions from 13 billion metric tons (Gt) to 11.3 Gt, while emissions from the world's developing nations have risen from 15.9 Gt to 22.0 Gt. Emissions from developing nations rose a year ago while emissions from developed nations dipped.

The data comes from the International Energy Agency (IEA) report, Global CO2 emissions in 2019, released Tuesday morning.

The IEA's executive director, Fatih Birol, expressed hope that annual emissions of Carbon dioxide would only decline in future.

The burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas accounts for the bulk of the world's emissions.

The strong renewables growth also prompted coal-fired electricity generation to fall for the first time since 1973, according to the latest report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Total U.S. energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions resume growth after 2031 but remain 4% lower than 2019 levels by 2050. "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".

It follows UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement last week that his government plans to bring forward the planned phase-out date for coal-fired power by a year to 2024, amid latest data showing UK greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.1 per cent in 2018.

In the US last year, recorded the most significant reductions in the size of the country at 140 million tons, or 2.9%.

"Now we need to work hard to 2019 remembered as the final peak global emissions, not just another pause in growth", - said the head of the IEA, Fatih Birol. USA energy-related emissions are now down nearly one gigatonne from their peak in 2000, it added. For the first time ever, natural gas produced more electricity than coal and wind-powered electricity almost caught up with coal-fired electricity.

Japan's emissions fell by 45 million tonnes, or around 4 percent, the fastest pace of decline since 2009, as output from recently restarted nuclear reactors increased.

Emissions in the rest of the world grew by close to 400 million tonnes in 2019, with nearly 80% of the increase coming from countries in Asia where coal-fired power generation continued to rise. To reliably prevent global temperatures from rising 2 ˚C above preindustrial levels-hot enough to destroy the world's coral reefs, among other serious dangers-the world needs to slash emissions by 25% this decade and reach zero by 2070, according to the UN's climate panel.

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