3. Analysis: Flat global CO2 emissions in 2019
If you look at it just right, the glass appears almost half-full on carbon emissions, at least to the International Energy Agency.
Driving the news: An IEA analysis released Monday evening found that energy-related CO2 emissions were flat last year at 33.3 gigatonnes.
- That's despite "widespread expectations of another increase" following growth in 2017 and 2018, IEA said.
- The finding 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.)
Why it matters: Scientific analyses show that steep, steep cuts — not just a plateau — are needed to meet the temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement. That's nowhere near happening and emissions are at record levels, but, well, let's have IEA boss Fatih Birol take it from here...
- “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,” he said in a statement.
- "We have the energy technologies to do this, and we have to make use of them all," Birol said, 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)