Global carbon emissions slow for first time in a decade

Slowing growth in emissions from China has led to the first decline in carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere in a decade.

Worldwide emissions from fossil fuels are projected to decline by 0.6% this year, according to a report released today by the Global Carbon Project (GCP).

“The major contributor to this change has been decreased coal consumption in China”, Executive-Director of the GCP and co-author of the report Dr Pep Canadell of the peak Australian government science agency CSIRO says.

“After sustained emissions growth over the past decade, China’s emissions growth slowed to 1.2% in 2014 and is expected to decline by about 4% in 2015.”

The world’s largest emitter was China, with 9.7 billion tonnes, followed by USA (5.6), the European Union (3.4) and India (2.6), together accounting for almost 60% of global emissions.

Canadell said that the strongest decline in emissions was in the European Union, averaging 2.4% decrease per year in the past decade, although some of it was achieved by transferring carbon emissions to emerging economies.

Lead author and Stanford University Professor Rob Jackson added, “If India’s emissions continue under the current trend they will match the EU’s emissions before 2020.”

“The largest uncertainty in future years is China’s coal use. Stabilisation, or reduction, in China’s coal use might be sustainable since more than half of the growth in the country’s energy consumption came from non-fossil fuel energy sources in 2014 and 2015,” Dr Canadell said.

You can access data and figures from the report at the Global Carbon Project’s website.

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