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A "cause for optimism" on global CO2

Sean Riley/ Flickr cc

The International Energy Agency has just reported that 2016 global carbon emissions from energy were flat for the third year in a row.

Why it matters: The Paris-based agency calls the latest findings more evidence of the "decoupling" of emissions from global economic growth. IEA executive director Fatih Birol calls it a "cause for optimism" but warns it's too soon to say emissions have peaked. The IEA findings note that the world still isn't on track to keep the global temperature increase less than 2°C above preindustrial levels, the goal of the Paris climate accord.

The details: U.S. carbon emissions fell 3% thanks to gas and renewables' ongoing displacement of coal in power production. The country's CO2 output is at its lowest level since 1992. Emissions in China, the world's biggest CO2 source, fell by 1% even as the economy grew by 6.7%, IEA said. Renewables, nuclear and gas have an increasing share of electricity generation, and efforts to clean up China's polluted air are driving a shift from coal to gas at industrial plants and buildings, the agency said.