You’ll (Very Likely) Be Surprised By This Fact

Author: Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva @rivefuentes

The Financial Times reports today (behind a paywall, sorry! But below you’ll find the relevant graph) that for the first time in 40 years, carbon dioxide emissions have remained flat in the absence of an economic crisis. In other words, the global economy is growing without producing additional carbon emissions. In yet other words, it’s the first (and arguably rather premature) sign that the global economy is decoupling from CO2 emissions.


The estimates come from a yet unpublished report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) – full report is expected to be published in June.

This is big news. They should be taken with caution though. Fatih Birol, IEA’s Chief Economist, says that “[t]his is a real surprise. We have never seen this before”.

The reasons behind the stagnation of emissions are related to both China’s investment in renewable energy (hydroelectricity, solar and wind) in place of coal and developed country commitments to energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy.

The news about the rise of renewable energy is quite encouraging. NPR reported this week about Nicaragua’s energy transformation. According to the note, “Within a few years the vast majority of Nicaragua’s electricity will come from hydroelectric dams, geothermal plants and wind farms.”

Early days to set up the (carbon-neutral, non-polluting) fireworks, but it seems that technological innovation will play its part in the fight against carbon emissions and climate change. The question now is how can this development be given momentum?

One thought on “You’ll (Very Likely) Be Surprised By This Fact

  1. Isabel Kreisler Moreno

    IEA data suggest encouraging news indeed.
    Some energy experts sound a note of caution (1): observing a trend rather than a one-year measurement would help sustain optimism.
    Other recent pieces of research suggest ways to build that necessary momentum: with clean technology policy packages at domestic level (2) and with a sensible international climate deal in Paris (3).



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