Today, the International Energy Agency released its report on global CO2 emissions, which totaled 33 gigatonnes in 2019.
The figure matched the total global emissions for 2018, which were the highest ever recorded in human history.
In spite of the dire figures, the IEA claimed the findings were ‘grounds for optimism,’ pointing to the fact that total emissions hadn’t risen over all, while the global economy had grown by 2.9 percent, suggesting economic prosperity can continue even with a focus on managing greenhouse gases.
According to IEA Executive Director Faith Birol, the report, ‘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.’
The report splits CO2 emissions into two main groups: those from advanced economies, meaning the United States, the European Union, and Japan; and those that come from the rest of the world.
CO2 emissions from the advanced economies dropped from 11.7 gigatonnes in 2018 to 11.3 gigatonnes in 2019.
The US led the reductions with a 140 million ton decline in 2019, a 2.9 percent less than its 2018 emissions, making it the country with the single biggest CO2 reductions in the world.
Countries in the EU collectively cut 160 million tons for a five percent drop.
Japan saw a dip in CO2 emissions by 45 million tons, representing a four percent yearly decline.
According to the IEA, a wide range of factors influenced the declines.
In America coal-powered plants struggled to compete with natural gas prices, which were 45 percent lower in 2019 than in 2018.
At the same time, overall annual electricity consumption declined, which the IEA attributes to warmer average winter temperatures and slightly cooler summer temperatures, meaning less overall heating and air-conditioning.
In many EU countries, declines were attributed to growth in renewable energy sources, like wind power, demand for which increased 11 percent in Germany.
Read the rest at: C02 Emissions