IEA: Carbon dioxide emissions flat as economy grows

Emissions of carbon dioxide remained unchanged for the second year in a row in 2015 while the global economy continued to grow, according to preliminary data from the International Energy Agency.

CO2 emissions totaled 32.1 billion tonnes last year, about their level since 2013.

EIA said electricity generated by renewable energy “played a critical role.”

Renewable energy accounted for about 90% of new electricity generation in 2015, IEA said. Of that increment, wind accounted for more than half.

The global economy, meanwhile, grew by 3.1% in 2015 after growing by 3.4% in 2014, “offering further evidence that the link between economic growth and emissions growth is weakening,” IEA said.

In more than 40 years of IEA records, past periods of stalled or declining CO2 emissions have been associated with global economic weakness—in the early 1980s, 1992, and 2009.

Energy-related CO2 emissions declined in China and the US, the two largest emitters, in 2015.

China’s emissions dropped by 1.5% as economic restructuring lowered activity of energy-intensive industries and government efforts reduced coal use in power generation.

Emissions in the US fell by 2%, largely because of the switch to natural gas from coal in electricity generation.

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