Only a few weeks after it was revealed that carbon emissions nearly stalled in 2014, new figures suggest carbon emissions could stall in 2015.
New figures from researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project suggest that global carbon emissions are projected to stall in 2015. Their figures were published in the journal Nature Climate Change, with detailed data made available simultaneously in the journal Earth System Science Data. Specifically, the researchers are predicting that not only might the growth of CO2 emissions slow or stall this year, but that there might even be a chance emissions growth would decline by 0.6% in 2015.
This possible decline would be the first during a period of strong global economic growth.
“These figures are certainly not typical of the growth trajectory seen since 2000 – where the annual growth in emissions was between 2 and 3 per cent,” said Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Director of the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia, who led the data analysis. “What we are now seeing is that emissions appear to have stalled, and they could even decline slightly in 2015.
“But it is important to remember that our projection for 2015 is an estimate and there will always be a range of uncertainty. In this case, the 2015 projection ranges from a global decline in emissions of up to 1.5 per cent – or at the other end of the spectrum, a small rise of 0.5 per cent.”
The biggest emitters in 2014 were China, which accounted for 27% of the world’s total emissions, the United States with 15%, the European Union with 10%, and India with 7%. But there were significant improvements on the part of these regions: Global CO2 growth slowed to only 0.6% in 2014 according the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project (while a report published late-November by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency brought that number down to only 0.5%); economic growth grew by 3% in 2014, further proof that there is a trending decoupling of emissions growth and economic growth; while the European Union managed to decrease its emissions by 5.4%.
“With two years of untypical emissions growth, it looks like the trajectory of global emissions might have changed temporarily,” added Professor Le Quéré added. “It is unlikely that emissions have peaked for good. This is because energy needs for growing economies still rely primarily on coal, and emissions decreases in some industrial countries are still modest at best.”
The next five years will be a vital time for global emissions decreases — especially across China, the US, the European Union, and India, which make up for 61% of the world’s total emissions — if emissions are to peak in the early 2020s, and halt global warming in its tracks.
Infographics courtesy of the Global Carbon Project and the University of East Anglia