HomeRegional NewsInternationalThe global transition to a low-carbon economy is underway

The global transition to a low-carbon economy is underway

On Thursday, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA) published its new report on global greenhouse gas emissions noting an overall reduction from the previous year.

Global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

The report notes that China’s carbon emissions fell by 0.3%, US’s by 2%, Russia’s by 2.1% and Japan’s by 1.3%.

EU’s carbon emissions stayed flat, with the UK, however, constituting the big success story, with a carbon decrease of 6.4% due to a steep fall of coal burning, Climate Action Programme reported.

Citing the report, Climate Action Programme said: “The CO2 emissions that were added in the atmosphere were more than 35 billion tonnes, – an amount that is still considered dangerous for climate change effects.

However, emissions of the rest of the greenhouse gases, which account for about 28% of total GHG emissions, rose by approximately 1%.”

Adding that methane accounts for 19% of total GHG emissions and constitutes the second largest GHG category.

Global Warming

Climate Action Programme said: “With a Global Warming Potential (GWP) much higher than CO2’s, namely 28-36 over 100 years contrary to 1 of CO2, methane emissions increase cause concerns over scientists warning that the meat industry, especially beef, is not at sustainable levels.

“On the positive side, the fact that global carbon emissions have been flat since 2014, for three years in a row, is giving a sense of hope that global warming can be actually prevented.”

As reported by the Guardian, Prof Lord Nicholas Stern at the London School of Economics and president of the British Academy said: “These results are a welcome indication that we are nearing the peak in global annual emissions of greenhouse gases”.

Cautiously optimistic

Jos Olivier, the Chief Researcher for the NEAA report said: “There is no guarantee that CO2 emissions will from now on be flat or descending.”

Climate Action Programme noted that should gas prices increase, an increase in coal-fired power in the US could be on the cards.

According to Stern, should the Paris goals be met, all countries have to accelerate their emissions reduction.

He also underlined the correlation between the transition to a low-carbon economy and the development drive in poorer countries, Climate Action Programme said.

He added: “We can now see clearly that the transition to a low-carbon economy is at the heart of the story of poverty reduction and of the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

The report did not account emissions from land use changes, as they are reportedly more difficult to estimate and vary strongly from year to year.

You can access the full Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA) report will all the details here.


Featured image: Stock

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.