Global CO2 emissions were flat in 2019
An IEA analysis released Monday found that energy-related CO2 emissions were flat last year at 33.3 gigatonnes.
Why it matters: Scientific analyses show that steep cuts — not just a plateau — are needed to meet the temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement.
The big picture: The finding came despite "widespread expectations of another increase" following growth in 2017 and 2018, IEA said.
- It is roughly consistent with separate analysis from a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project (which also looks at cement industry emissions).
- They estimated in December that energy-related emissions growth slowed last year to 0.6%. (One of that report's authors has a very helpful Twitter thread this morning.)
What they're saying: In a statement, IEA boss Fatih Birol said, "We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth."
- "We have the energy technologies to do this, and we have to make use of them all," Birol added, noting IEA is seeking to build a "grand coalition" to boost global focus on emissions cuts.
Where it stands: IEA, explaining why overall emissions were flat, cited a "sharp decline" in CO2 from the power sector in advanced economies as renewables, gas and higher nuclear output shove coal aside.
- "Global CO2 emissions from coal use declined by almost 200 million tonnes (Mt), or 1.3%, from 2018 levels, offsetting increases in emissions from oil and natural gas," they note.
- However, emissions outside of the advanced economies kept growing, with most of the increase occurring in Asia as coal use there keeps rising.
Go deeper: Energy emissions stall as rich nations kick their coal habit (Bloomberg)