IEA warns five year decline in industrial economies’ emissions has ground to a halt

IEA warns five year decline in industrial economies' emissions has ground to a halt
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released another  warning on the scale of the global climate crisis, warning that the recent progress made by industrialised nations in cutting their greenhouse gas emissions has stalled.

The agency released an update yesterday warning there will be an “uptick” in the carbon dioxide emissions of industrialised economies this year, bucking a five year-long decline that had fuelled hopes global greenhouse gas emissions could be peaking.

“Based on the latest available energy data, energy-related CO2 emissions in North America, the European Union and other advanced economies in Asia Pacific grew, as higher oil and gas use more than offset declining coal consumption,” the IEA said.

“As a result, the IEA expects CO2 emissions in these economies to increase by around 0.5 per cent in 2018.”

With greenhouse gas emissions from developing nations also expected to rise, overall global emissions are set to climb again this year, despite recent stark warnings from the IPCC scientific body that global emissions need to fall by around 40 per cent by 2030 to put the world on track for less than 1.5C of warming.

The IEA said there was some encouraging evidence economic growth is still decoupled from energy emissions, with GDP growth across industrialised economies expected to far exceed emissions growth and reach 2.4 per cent this year.

However, the news emissions are rising in advanced economies will come as yet another hammer blow to hopes the Paris Agreement’s stated goal of limiting temperature increases to ‘well below 2C’ can be achieved.

“Global energy-related CO2 emissions need to peak as soon as possible and then enter a steep decline for countries to meet climate goals,” the IEA stated.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said clean energy technologies were being deployed at record rates, but rising energy demand meant low carbon infrastructure was not being developed fast enough to curb emissions.

“Our data shows that despite the strong growth in solar PV and wind, emissions have started to rise again in advanced economies, highlighting the need for deploying all technologies and energy efficiency,” he said in a statement, adding that the latest update should provide yet “another warning” to governments gathering this week at the UN COP24 Climate Summit in Katowice.

“Increasing efforts are needed to encourage even more renewables, greater energy efficiency, more nuclear, and more innovation for technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage and hydrogen, for instance,” he said.

The latest data is particularly concerning given it brings to an end a five year run during which emissions from industrialised economies have edged downwards.

 

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