International economic growth did not translate into more harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday, a strong indication that growth and increased pollution no longer go hand in hand.
For the second year running, worldwide carbon dioxide emissions stalled last year, while the international economy grew by 3.1 percent, after a 3.4 percent rise in 2014, the IEA said.
A surge in the contribution from renewable energy sources explains the decoupling of growth and carbon dioxide emissions, with clean energy sources accounting for 90 percent of all new electricity generation last year.
Wind alone contributed half of all new electricity generation, the IEA said.
“We now have seen two straight years of greenhouse gas emissions decoupling from economic growth,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement. “Coming just a few months after the landmark COP21 agreement in Paris, this is yet another boost to the global fight against climate change.”
There have been four instances of falling carbon dioxide emissions year-on-year in the last four decades, three of which coincided with economic weakness, in contrast to the scenario seen these past two years.
The two largest greenhouse gas emitters, the US and China, both registered declines in carbon dioxide production last year.
However, this was offset by increased emissions in other Asian developing nations, the IEA said.
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