Globally, GDP grew by 3% last year, an average rate for an average year.
Surprisingly, for the second year in a row, CO2 emissions stayed flat, according to the International Energy Agency. At 32 billion tonnes, it’s almost 2 billion tonnes less than the U.S. Department of Energy predicted for 2015.
“The new figures confirm last year’s surprising but welcome news: we now have seen two straight years of greenhouse gas emissions decoupling from economic growth,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
Smarter people than I will deal with the fact that temperatures jumped while CO2 stayed flat. I don’t think they will find much in the way of causation for this lack of correlation.
What I think may prove to be a fruitful exercise is looking at the very high jump in CO2 concentrations in a year when we didn’t put out any more than the last couple of years.
Although the Guardian writes “Fossil fuel burning and a strong El Niño weather pattern pushed CO2 levels 3.05 parts per million (ppm) on a year earlier to 402.6 ppm, as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) said on Wednesday” I think it’s mostly El Niño this year.
I actually think climate activists will do their best to ignore this good news, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to follow suit.
China has reached a plateau in their massive infrastructure and housing buildout. Most new power generation is coming from renewable resources–massive dams are being built throughout the developing world and wind and solar are growing quickly as well.
I doubt if we’ve turned the corner on emissions–India, Indonesia, Malaysia and other developing countries are just getting started.
But let’s enjoy this good news today, even if it’s only for today.