(3BL Media/Justmeans) -Here is some very encouraging news coming from a preliminary report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Global carbon dioxide emissions for the year 2014 were 32.3 billion metric tons, the same amount as the previous year. Emissions, which had been growing at an annual rate of 2.4%, have now flattened out even as the global economy grew by 3%.
"This is both a very welcome surprise and a significant one," said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, recently named to take over for Maria van der Hoeven as Executive Director. "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."
According to IEA, this is the first time in 40 years that emissions have fallen without a corresponding drop in economic activity.
This move could actually put the effort to head off “severe, widespread and irreversible impacts” of climate change ahead of the timetable set forth by the IPCC when they said that global emissions must peak by 2020. Of course, in order for a peak to occur, we must see a decline beginning this year and continuing into the future.
It’s clear that we now have the tools in the form of renewables and many forms of energy conservation to grow the economy without raising emissions. But any number of things could reverse the trend. That would include continuing growth in developing countries and an increasing number of extreme weather events, both of which are expected.
The IPCC also stated that we must cut emissions in half by 2050 and eliminate them entirely by 2100.