Global CO2 output flatlined in 2014, the first time in 40 years without a major economic shock, the IEA said, in a clear sign that economic growth can be decoupled from emissions.
The global economy grew 3% in 2014 while CO2 output remained at the 2013 level of 32.3 billion tonnes, the FT reported.
“This is a real surprise. We have never seen this before,” said IEA chief economist and incoming executive director Fatih Birol told the FT ($).
The main reasons were shifts to cleaner forms of energy production in China, US and the EU, the IEA told the newspaper.
It said the only three times in the past 40 years this had happened were due to major economic shocks: the oil price shock and US recession of 1982, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 and the 2009 global financial crisis.
Coal consumption in China dropped for the first time this century last year as more renewables came online and the government’s energy efficiency drive took hold, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics said last month. It said China’s slowing economic growth was also a factor.
The IEA later said in a statement it will publish its findings in detail in a June 15 report advising governments what energy measures should be agreed at the December UN climate summit in Paris.