Monday, October 03, 2016

Greenhouse gases - good news and bad

Greenhouse gases - good news and bad

The bad news: India and China were still increasing rapidly through 2014.

The good news: the sum of all other countries added together is actually going down.

More good news: preliminary data suggests that China's emissions decreased in 2015!

Trend in CO2 emissions, 2010-2014:

China - up 16%
India - up 17%
Rest of world - down half a percent

* The USA was down 4% in that 2010-2014 period, has been declining since 2005, and is now down 10% from the peak.

* The European Union was down 13% in that 2010-2014 period, has been declining since 2007, and is now down 19% from the peak.

* Russia has been completely stable since 1994.

* Japan has been completely stable since 1996.

Because of the large increases in India and China, the global total has still been increasing, but the rate of increase has slowed in the last three years with reliable data, and the most recent year had the smallest increase:

2011 over 2010: +3.3%
2012 over 2011: +0.9%
2013 over 2012: +1.4%
2014 over 2013: +0.6%

The news gets better in 2015. According to the IEA's preliminary 2015 estimate, the 2015 increase over 2014 was a mere 0.03%, with China actually registering a decrease thanks to a further reduction of dependence on coal.

The last two years are especially encouraging because CO2 levels remained stable despite healthy global economic growth. The IEA provides the details:

"In the more than 40 years in which the IEA has been providing information on CO2 emissions, there have been only four periods in which emissions stood still or fell compared to the previous year. Three of those – the early 1980s, 1992 and 2009 – were associated with global economic weakness. But the recent stall in emissions comes amid economic expansion: according to the International Monetary Fund, global GDP grew by 3.4% in 2014 and 3.1% in 2015."

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