Carbon emissions fall with global downturn: report

Sep 21, 2009
Locked gates protect a shut-down gas station in San Francisco, California. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen thanks to the global downturn, handing the world a chance to move away from high-carbon growth, a report said Monday, citing an International Energy Agency study.

Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen thanks to the global downturn, handing the world a chance to move away from high-carbon growth, a report said Monday, citing an International Energy Agency study.

The unpublished IEA study found carbon emissions from burning had dropped significantly this year -- further than in any year in the past four decades.

Falling industrial output is largely responsible for the plunge in emissions, but other factors also played a role, including shelving plans for new coal-fired power stations because of falling demand and lack of financing.

The fall will exceed the drop in the 1981 recession that followed a crisis in the oil markets, according to the results of study published in the Financial Times newspaper.

"We have a new situation, with the changes in energy demand and the postponement of many energy investments," said Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist.

"But this only has meaning if we can make use of this unique window of opportunity. (That means) a deal in Copenhagen."

The December meeting in Copenhagen, under the UN Framework Convention on , aims to set down action for tackling heat-trapping carbon emissions beyond 2012, when the current provisions of the run out.

Government policies to cut emissions have also had an impact on emission levels, with the IEA estimating that about a quarter of the reduction is the result of regulation.

The study is an excerpt from the Paris-based IEA's annual World Energy Outlook, which will be published in November. The excerpt will be released early next month ahead of the Copenhagen meeting, according to the FT.

The report also comes as world leaders converge on New York and Pittsburgh this week for pivotal talks in the two-year effort to remake global climate rules, ahead of Copenhagen.

Birol said a global agreement was needed in Copenhagen to encourage companies to cut emissions.

"We hope that an agreement in Copenhagen would give a signal for new investments to go in (an environmentally) sustainable direction," he said.

"If we miss this opportunity, it will be much more expensive and therefore harder than ever to bring the world? s energy system on to a sustainable path."

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Dead floppy drive: Kenya recycles global e-waste

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China to surpass U.S. emissions levels

Nov 07, 2006

The International Energy Agency says China will surpass the United States in carbon dioxide emissions by 2009, about a decade ahead of previous predictions.

China: rich nations must cut emissions by 40 pct

May 22, 2009

(AP) -- Wealthy nations, as history's biggest polluters, should cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, China says in a policy document on climate change. The government also rolled out fresh ...

Global emissions to leap 39 percent by 2030: US

May 27, 2009

Global carbon dioxide emissions are set to rise 39 percent by 2030 as energy consumption surges in the developing world, notably in Asian giants China and India, the United States warned on Wednesday.

Can U.S., China find common ground in climate talks?

Sep 15, 2009

The U.S. and China should be able to agree on energy cooperation projects that reduce greenhouse gases and lead to a successful outcome at international climate talks in Copenhagen in December, two U.S. climate insiders said ...

Recommended for you

Dead floppy drive: Kenya recycles global e-waste

Aug 22, 2014

In an industrial area outside Kenya's capital city, workers in hard hats and white masks take shiny new power drills to computer parts. This assembly line is not assembling, though. It is dismantling some ...

New paper calls for more carbon capture and storage research

Aug 22, 2014

Federal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must involve increased investment in research and development of carbon capture and storage technologies, according to a new paper published by the University of Wyoming's ...

Coal gas boom in China holds climate change risks

Aug 22, 2014

Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble ...

User comments : 0