Gas, renewables flatten global CO2 emissions – IEA

By Myrna M. Velasco – March 25, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

Gas and renewable energy resources have been turning the planet into a better place to live in, with them dominantly flattening overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions globally for the third straight year despite brisk economic growths in some countries which manifestly require larger scale energy consumption.

That has been the outcome of a study released this month by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based global think tank for the energy sector.

“Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew,” the IEA has noted.

It expounded that “this was the result of growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency as well as structural changes in the global economy.”

According to the IEA, global emissions from the energy sector hovered at 32.1 gigatons last year, which had been roughly the same in the past two years.

The IEA nevertheless cautioned that “while the pause in emissions growth is positive news to improve air pollution, it is not enough to put the world on a path to keep global temperatures from rising above 2°C.”

CO2 emissions decline were particularly noted in the world’s gigantic economies of United States and China, apparently the two biggest energy users and emitters also. Europe’s CO2 emissions had similarly been marked “stable,” and all three so far offset the increases in most of the rest of the world.

In the US, in particular, it was emphasized that the CO2 emissions drop had been “driven by a surge in shale gas supplies and more attractive renewable power that displaced coal.”

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said “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.”

He added that such also set off “a sign that market dynamics and technological improvements matter.”

Last year, it was noted that RE “supplied more than half the global electricity demand growth,” with hydro accounting for half of that share.

Nuclear power’s share in the global energy mix had also been on uptrend – it reportedly reaching highest net capacity last year since 1993, with new reactors coming online in China, the United States, South Korea, India, Russia and Pakistan.

Coal demand, on the other hand, had been seen falling globally, primarily in the US, wherein demand had been pared by 11 percent.