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Emissions standstill boosts Paris hopes

Emissions standstill boosts Paris hopes

CROP--china pollution

Reduced coal use in China will have a positive impact on poor air quality.
Image: V.T. Polywoda via Flickr

The link between global economic growth and emissions growth has been further weakened as greenhouse gas levels show no increase for the second year in succession.

LONDON, 18 March, 2016 – The world continued to make progress towards a low-carbon economy during 2015, according to analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It says analysis of preliminary data for the year reveals that global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide − the largest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions − showed no increase for the second year in a row.

The IEA announcement will be doubly welcome as some Arctic temperatures continue to warm bizarrely. It comes a day after reports from Fort Yukon in Alaska said temperatures there had reached up to 10°C higher than expected for this time of year.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said of the emissions report: “The new figures confirm last year’s surprising but welcome news. We now have seen two straight years of greenhouse gas emissions decoupling from economic growth.

Landmark agreement

“Coming just a few months after the landmark COP21 agreement in Paris, this is yet another boost to the global fight against climate change.”

Significantly, the global economy continued to grow in 2015 by more than 3%, which the IEA says is further evidence that the link between economic growth and emissions growth is weakening.

In more than 40 years, it says, there have been only four periods in which emissions stood still or fell compared to the previous year. Three of those – the early 1980s, 1992 and 2009 – were associated with global economic weakness.

But the recent stall in emissions comes amid economic expansion. According to the International Monetary Fund, global GDP grew by 3.4% in 2014 and 3.1% in 2015.

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