2014 emission levels

International Energy Agency`

The IEA has reported that global emissions of CO2 stalled last year, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of GHGs that was not tied to an economic downturn. IEA Chief Econommist, Fatih Birol said, “this gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today.”

Global emissions of CO2 stood at 32.3 billion t last year, unchanged from 2013. Preliminary IEA data suggests that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought. The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. Last year, China saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar, wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth, including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy, are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from GHG emissions. Birol said, “this is both a very welcome surprise and a significant one. It provides much needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December: for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions are decoupling from economic growth.”

The IEA has been collecting data on CO2 emissions for 40 years and on only three occasions have emissions stood still or fallen compared to the previous year. Also, all were associated with global economic weakness: the early 1980s, 1992 and 2009. In 2014, however, the global economy expanded by 3%.


Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, made the following statement on the above IEA findings:

“These figures show that green growth is achievable not just for Britain but for the world. However, we cannot be complacent, we need to dramatically cut emissions, not just stop their growth. Getting a new global climate deal is absolutely vital, and the year ahead is going to be of critical importance. The UK must stay the course and continue to show strong, decisive leadership in Europe and globally.”

Edited from press releases by Claira Lloyd

Published on 16/03/2015

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