Global carbon dioxide emissions flatlined in 2019 according to IEA data

13Feb / 2020

Global carbon dioxide emissions flatlined in 2019 according to IEA data

According to International Energy Agency (IEA) data, global emissions and carbon dioxide were unchanged at 33 gigatonnes in 2019.

This halt in emissions generation is thought to be primarily due to declining emissions from electricity generation in advanced economies, even though the world economy expanded by 2.9%.  Another factor is the expanding role of renewable sources (mainly wind and solar), fuel switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power generation. Milder weather in several countries, and slower economic growth in some emerging markets, have also contributed.

Some key discoveries include:

  • The United States recorded the largest emissions decline on a country basis, with a fall of 140 million tonnes, or 2.9%. US emissions are now down by almost 1 gigatonne from their peak in 2000.
  • Emissions in the European Union fell by 160 million tonnes, or 5%, in 2019 driven by reductions in the power sector.
  • Japan’s emissions fell by 45 million tonnes, or around 4%, the fastest pace of decline since 2009, as output from recently restarted nuclear reactors increased.
  • Emissions in the rest of the world grew by close to 400 million tonnes in 2019, with almost 80% of the increase coming from countries in Asia where coal-fired power generation continued to rise. 
  • Natural gas produced more electricity than coal for the first time ever, meanwhile wind-powered electricity nearly caught up with coal-fired electricity.

Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA said, “We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth.”

Simon Talbot, Managing Director of GGS had this to say; “This is great news as far as it goes. However, all of us have a duty to do our bit to reduce emissions and move to a sustainable future. The UK is well placed to transition our primary energy supply away from high carbon fuels through to low carbon with carbon capture and storage to 100% renewables.”

Read the press release here.

Read the data here.

Global carbon dioxide emissions flatlined in 2019