Global carbon dioxide emissions remained flat for the third year in a row, even as the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA’s research suggests the continued decoupling of emissions and economic activity as renewable power creation and energy efficiency grow together with structural changes in the global economy.
IEA found that 2016 global emissions from the energy sector held steady at 32.1 gigatonnes for the third straight year, while the global economy grew 3.1%. While increases in emissions occurred across much of the world last year, emission declines in the world’s two largest emitters — the United States and China — and stabilized emissions in Europe helped to offset these increases.
“These three years of flat emissions in a growing global economy signal an emerging trend and that is certainly a cause for optimism, even if it is too soon to say that global emissions have definitely peaked,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director. “They are also a sign that market dynamics and technological improvements matter. This is especially true in the United States, where abundant shale gas supplies have become a cheap power source.”