Falling coal consumption in China and a drop in greenhouse gas emissions in most OECD countries meant global CO2 output from fossil fuel use and cement production grew only 0.5% in 2014, the lowest annual increase without a recession since 1998, a report showed.
The annual “Trends in global CO2 emissions” by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre estimated global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement reached 35.7 billion tonnes in 2014, only marginally higher than the previous year but 58.4% above 1990 levels.
Last year’s modest increase came as the global economy grew 3%.
Emissions in China, which accounts for 30% of CO2 output worldwide, rose 0.9% year-on-year, the lowest increase in a decade.
“China’s economy is structurally changing from a manufacturing and export-oriented economy towards one with a stronger focus on less energy-intensive industries and services as well as on domestic consumption, with more energy efficiency and a low-carbon energy mix,” the report said.
“Therefore, it is likely that the very high global annual emission growth rates, as observed in the years 2003 to 2011, will not be seen in the coming years.”
A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report released this week predicted China’s CO2 emissions growth from fossil fuels could fall to 0.29% in 2015.
US emissions also rose 0.9% in 2014, less than in the two previous years, as natural gas displaced more carbon-intensive fuels in power generation.
The EU saw an notable drop of 5.4%, mostly due to less fossil fuel use in power generation and manufacturing, as well as lower heating demand due to a seasonably warm winter.
However, in India emissions increased 7.8% year-on-year.
“Apart from the recent two years of recession, the 0.5% emission growth in 2014 was the lowest global growth rate since 1998. Where, in the previous years, it was debated whether or not the slowdown was accidental, now, after three years and trends over two or three quarters of 2015, we can conclude that the global slowdown is very likely due to structural changes,” the report said.
“The slowdown in emissions and the continuing economic growth suggests a partial decoupling of the trend in global CO2 emissions from that of the global economy.”
Below is an overview of 2014 emissions and annual change in the biggest-emitting countries, as well as international aviation and shipping.
|Region/sector||2014 emissions (mt CO2)||Change (%)|
|Korea, Republic of||610.1||0.2|
|United Arab Emirates||201.1||3.8|
By Stian Reklev – email@example.com