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The world’s energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions remained flat in 2019, halting two years of emissions increases, as lower emissions in advanced economies offset growing emissions elsewhere, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its new emissions report on Tuesday.
Despite global economic growth of 2.9 percent, energy-linked CO2 emissions in the world stayed basically unchanged at 33 gigatons last year, despite “widespread expectations of another increase,” the IEA said.
The key trends in lower emissions globally were lower electricity generation emissions thanks to the growing share of renewables, the coal-to-gas fuel switch, higher nuclear power generation, milder weather in some countries, and slower economic growth in some emerging markets, the IEA said.
“Across advanced economies, emissions from the power sector declined to levels last seen in the late 1980s, when electricity demand was one-third lower than today,” the Paris-based agency said.
The United States posted the biggest drop in emissions, which dropped by 140 million tons, or 2.9 percent, as coal-fired power generation slumped by 15 percent. U.S. energy-related emissions are now down by almost 1 gigaton from their peak in 2000, the IEA has estimated. Low natural gas prices last year further undermined coal use for electricity generation in the United States, the IEA said, noting that the share of gas in U.S. electricity generation reached a record high of 37 percent.
U.S. energy related CO2 emissions fell by 2.1 percent year on year in 2019, according to EIA estimates from earlier this year. Energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to continue their annual declines into 2020 and 2021, and if the forecast holds, emissions will have declined in 7 of the 10 years from 2012 to 2021.
While emissions from advanced economies dropped, emissions from emerging economies increased, the IEA said in its report today. Emissions in China rose, yet at a slower pace, because of slower economic growth and higher shares of electricity generation from renewables and nuclear power. India’s energy-related emissions grew moderately last year, with strong renewables growth prompting coal-fired electricity generation to fall for the first time since 1973.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.