Dec 23, 2013

Are we on the verge of solving #Climatechange?

Guardian UK - Have global emissions begun a 'permanent slowdown'? Are we on the verge, finally, of tackling climate change? Those are the tantalizing questions posed by the latest round of global CO2 figures released by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agencyd the European Commission Joint Research Centre.

According to the new report, after a decade of growing at a hair-raising 2.9% per year, the growth rate in CO2 from fossil fuels and industrial processes has dropped to 1.4%, or just 1.1% once the leap year is taken into account. And the slowdown happened without any real deceleration in the world economy, the report says, signalling "a 'decoupling' of the increase in CO2 emissions from global economic growth."

These findings have rightly generated plenty of interest. After all, we've been badly in need of some good news about global emissions. Total human CO2 emissions from all key sources have been increasing at basically the same rate since the 1850s, suggesting that so far efforts focused on renewable power, energy efficiency and carbon policy have done nothing to reduce our impact on the climate at the global level. Any genuine slowdown is therefore hugely significant – and if it can be done without the global economy feeling a squeeze, then all the better.

But is the data correct? And if so, is this really the start of the end of fossil fuels – the essential first step to global emissions actually falling – or just a blip? 

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