Climate-warming emissions from burning fossil fuels have remained flat for a third year in a row in a development that suggests a shift to a greener global economy is happening faster than previously thought. A striking drop in carbon pollution in the US, where emissions fell back to what they were in 1992, helped to keep global CO2 levels in 2016 virtually unchanged from the two previous years, the International Energy Agency said. Carbon pollution from burning coal, gas and oil has typically levelled out only during economic downturns and then ticked up again as recoveries take hold. The ability to cut emissions without putting economic growth at risk has been the holy grail for governments and climate change campaigners alike, especially in emerging markets. The IEA said in 2016 that emissions fell about 3 per cent in the US and 1 per cent in China, where the addition of seven nuclear reactors helped lower carbon pollution. Large new hydropower schemes in China and Brazil were also a factor.
FT 17th March 2017 read more »
Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions rose last year despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to position the country as a world leader in fighting climate change and shifting from fossil fuels to wind and solar power. Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions rose by 4m tonnes to 906m tonnes, an increase of 0.7 per cent, according to a study by Arepo Consult carried out for the opposition Green party. The Greens said the figures meant it would become “even harder” for Germany to attain its declared goal of reducing greenhouse gas by 40 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. So far, it has managed to lower emissions by only 27.6 per cent. To reach the 40 per cent target, “annual emissions will have to fall by 40m tonnes on average every year by 2020”, the party said. A key reason for the increase was rising emissions in the transport sector, the Greens said. That was backed up by figures from the Federal Environment Agency, which showed carbon dioxide emissions from transport rose by 5.4m tonnes, or 3.4 per cent in 2016 – partly because of an increase in freight traffic, which expanded by 2.8 per cent.
FT 16th March 2017 read more »