Global CO2 emissions from energy sector stalled for the first time in 40 years in 2014: IEA

As per the preliminary data released, global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014 which is same as in the year 2013.

Mar 14, 2015 16:07 IST
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International Energy Agency (IEA) released the data on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on 13 March 2015. According to it, the global emissions of CO2 from energy sector stalled in the year 2014.

As per the preliminary data released, global emissions of CO2 stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014 which is same as in the year 2013.

Further the data suggests that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought.

Cause for the halt in CO2 emissions

According to IEA, the cause for the halt of CO2 emissions is the changing patterns of energy consumption in China and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

In China, the year 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal.

On the other hand, in OECD economies, the year 2014 saw efforts towards promoting sustainable growth through greater energy efficiency and more production of renewable energy.

Decoupling of CO2 emissions and economic growth

This is the first time in 40 years that global CO2 emissions stalled or got reduced despite global economy witnessing an economic growth of 3 percent in 2014. That is, for the first time the CO2 emissions got decoupled with economic growth.

Since the setting up of 29-member IEA in 1973 at Vienna, there have only been three times when the global carbon emissions stalled or reduced compared to the previous year. These were early 1980s, 1992 and 2009 and all these years were associated with global economic weakness.

Significance of this development

According to IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, this will help in bringing the nations together in combating the climate change and will provide the much needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December 2015. (Fatih Birol was recently named to take over from Maria van der Hoeven as the next IEA Executive Director).

Countries of the developing and developed world have to announce by 31 March 2015 their commitment towards cutting the greenhouse gas emissions so as to limit the rise in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

The European Union has formally adopted a 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030, while the United States has announced plans to slash 26 to 28 per cent of its emissions in 2025 compared to their level in 2005 and make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28 percent,

Among the developing world, China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030.

India, the world's third largest emitter of the greenhouse gases, made a pledge at UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, to cut the intensity of its carbon emissions—reducing the amount of carbon emitted for the same amount of economic output 20 to 25 percent over 2005 levels by 2020.

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