Global emissions were unchanged last year, the first time that’s happened amid economic growth in four decades, according to the International Energy Agency.
Carbon-dioxide emissions were stable at 32.3 billion metric tons, even as the global economy advanced 3 percent, the Paris-based agency said Friday in a statement on its website, citing preliminary estimates. China, the world’s biggest emitter, generated more of its electricity from renewable sources including hydropower, solar and wind and less from coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, it said.
The preliminary data suggests efforts to slow climate change may be more effective than expected, the IEA said. United Nations envoys are holding a series of meetings through the end of this year to try to seal a global deal limiting greenhouse gases in the period after 2020 in a bid to prevent emissions from rising to a level some scientists say will lead to irreversible climate change.
Last year’s stagnation “provides much-needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December: for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions are decoupling from economic growth,” Fatih Birol, who takes over next year as executive director of the IEA, said in the statement.