EU achieves big cuts; U.S. still largest per capita emitter
Global CO2 emissions slowed dramatically the past few years, potentially signalling the wane of the fossil fuel era, according to a new report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.
The carbon tally shows that after a decade when CO2 emissions grew at about 4 percent annually, the pace slowed significantly in 2012 (0.8 percent), 2013 (1.5 percent).
In 2014, the world’s economy grew by three percent, but CO2 emissions grew by just 0.5 percent, sending an encouraging signal on the decoupling of CO2 emissions from global economic growth.
But the report says it’s still to early to confirm a positive global trend, especially with surges in carbon emissions from some large, developing countries. India, with its emerging economy and large population, increased its emissions by 7.8 percent and became the fourth largest emitter globally.
But the European Union was able to cut CO2 emissions by 5.4 percent in 2014, when the region’s GDP grew by 1.4 percent — marking the third year in a row that the EU was able to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Total EU CO2 emissions are now 23 percent below the 1990 level.
The report says the overall EU decline was driven by a 4.5 percent emissions reduction from industrial facilities and power plants that are part of the EU Emissions Trading System, a mild winter which resulted in a 10 percent lower heating demand and a 0.5 percent reduction in oil consumption for transport.
Significant reductions in national CO2 emissions were recorded for Slovakia (10.6 percent), the United Kingdom (9.0 percent), Denmark (8.8 percent), France (8.4 percent), Italy (7.7 percent), Finland (6.9 percent), Greece (6.3 percent), Austria (6.0 percent), Germany (5.6 percent), the Netherlands (5.3 percent), Portugal (3.6 percent) and Poland (3.4 percent). Of the 28 EU Member States, only Bulgaria and Cyprus increased their emissions, by 6.9% and 0.5%, respectively.
For the first time, the EU’s share of global CO2 emissions fell below 10 percent to 9.6 percent of total global emissions, making the EU the third-largest emitter after China (30 percent) and the U.S. (15 percent).
. Responsible for 9,6% of the global emissions, the EU is still the third largest emitter globally after China (30%) and the United States (15%).
Other major emitters were also able to cut greenhouse gas output, including Japan (-2.6 percent) Russia (-1.5 percent), and Australia (- 2.1 percent).
China has also managed to slow down its emissions growth. After the surge in CO2 emissions recorded over the past 10 years, China’s emissions increased by only 0.9 percent in 2014, the same rate as the United States. A big part of the overall curbing of global emissions can therefore be attributed to China’s structural changes in its economy favoring less energy-intensive services.
The U.S. still leads the world in per capita emissions, with each person responsible for 16.5 tons of CO2 — twice as high as China (7.5 tons) and the EU (7.1 tons of CO2 per capita.