by Rona Fried
I could feel it in my bones as I wrote this two weeks ago in the article, "We Could Be Turning the Corner on Climate Change."
I said: I’m seeing signs that efforts to reduce carbon emissions are beginning to work and that the link between economic growth and energy consumption is breaking.
Today, I see the amazing confirmation.
2014 was the first year the world’s carbon emissions DID NOT increase, while the world economy grew 3%!!
In the past, there have been a few years when carbon emissions dropped, but only when there was a significant economic slowdown, says the International Energy Agency (IEA), which released the news.
"This is a real surprise, we’ve never seen this before," Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of IEA, told the Financial Times. "For the first time, greenhouse gas emissions are decoupling from economic growth."
This is great news for the upcoming Climate Summit in Paris, because nations will be heartened by the news that efforts to control emissions are working – without harming economies.
Over the past five years, economies of OECD countries grew nearly 7%, while emissions dropped 4%, and IEA data shows the US, UK and EU have made significant strides in energy efficiency, renewable energy and in moving away from coal by using more natural gas.
China’s coal consumption dropped for the first time last year, causing its emissions to drop for the first time – by 2%!!, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.
The latest target is 200 gigawatts (GW) of wind and 100 GW of solar by 2020, up from 95.8 GW and 26.5 GW respectively.
Scientists have predicted more slowly rising emissions, but not this is even better.
Read our article, World Carbon Emissions Rise to Record Levels in 2012.