Caron dioxide emissions flat for the third year in row

21 March 2017

For the third year in a row, the carbon dioxide emissions driving climate change worldwide had been level.

The development is especially noteworthy as it comes amidst growth of the global economy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced, which is seen as a sign that carbon emissions were "decoupling" from the economy as other sources of energy came online.

The CO2 emissions were measured at 32.1 metric gigatons in 2016, the same as in the previous two years. This came even as the global economy grew 3.1 per cent.

According to the IEA, this is due to the growth of renewable energy, and switching from coal to natural gas, improved energy efficiency programmes, and additional nuclear facilities coming online.

It was also a positive signal that realistic efforts to curb carbon emissions without harming economic growth was possible, said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

"These three years of flat emissions in a growing global economy signal an emerging trend and that is certainly a cause for optimism, even if it is too soon to say that global emissions have definitely peaked," Birol said in a statement. "They are also a sign that market dynamics and technological improvements matter."

However, most the progress had been achieved by the US, but President Trump's administration is widely expected to issue executive orders this week to roll back environmental protections.

The US commitment to the United Nations Paris climate accord, which aimed to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, is widely seen as vital to the success of the global initiative. Though president Trump had vowed to pull out of the climate accord, secretary of state Rex Tillerson favoured "maintaining a seat" at the talks.

According to commentators, recent years had shown that the progress had been apparent. According to the IEA, 2016 emissions in the US were at their lowest level since 1992, almost a quarter century during which the economy grew by 80 per cent.

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