A slowdown in the increase of global CO2 emissions

global co2 emissions 2013 coverFred Pearce in the New Scientist opens: “2012 may go down in history as a remarkable year. For the first time, the maddening pace of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions showed signs of a global slowdown.

“Importantly – and unlike the drop in emissions triggered by the 2008 recession – the let-off is happening at the same time as global wealth continues to swell.

“The small increase in emissions [of 2012]… may be the first sign of a more permanent slowdown in the increase of global CO2 emissions, and ultimately of declining global emissions,” declares the Trends in Global CO2 Emissions: 2013 Report, published by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) last week. It analyses the latest emissions data, right up to 2012.

According to the International Energy Agency, in most countries the biggest factors are measures to boost energy efficiency

These include:

  • fuel savings in factories,
  • more fuel-efficient trucks,
  • the adoption of low-energy light bulbs,
  • a doubled contribution by solar, hydroelectricity, wind and biofuels over six years.

An accolade for renewable energy

The report concludes: “Without the use of modern renewable energy sources (e.g. wind, solar, biofuel, hydropower), annual global CO2 emission levels, potentially, could have been about 5% higher than they are today.

The news should provide fresh momentum for UN negotiations on a new climate treaty

World leaders meet in Warsaw next week for a United Nations summit on climate change – the 19th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC and the 9th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

The delegates hope to take a step closer to reaching agreement on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol that could be signed by 2015 and implemented by 2020. Read more here.

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