Reports that the growth in carbon pollution paused last year should give heart to climate campaigners and clean energy investors around the world. The figures, from the International Energy Agency, no less, will come as a cold shower to those who still believe that burning fossil fuels is inextricably bound to economic growth.
First off, i’m very glad that it appears global CO2 emissions have stalled but the portion of CO2 emissions that went down from replacing coal with gas in China and other developing countries was more than negated by increases in the far more dangerous methane emissions escaping from the fracking industries.
The other major contributor to the CO2 ‘stall’ is the increase in alternatives like wind and solar which is encouraging especially as those industries, though still having a large fossil fuel footprint embedded in their production, are mostly local and smaller scale which suits their widely distributed sources thereby eliminating the attendent destruction and losses built into grid and transmission expansion.
Another very important factor that the Big Green groups seem to overlook is the global deflationary picture which has cut into discretionary spending by consumers everywhere.
This reduction in demand, especially for needless crap, has driven down the extraction, consumption and price of all commodities including fossil fuels.
IMO the CO2 stall is good news because it shows that we can all live another way, that small changes can have big effects and that we can have growth in the quality of our lives while consuming less.