The link between global GDP growth and CO2 emissions is weakening rapidly. Will emissions peak well before 2030?

(Energy Post, 19 Feb 2024) Economic growth has been closely tied to rising greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial age. But data now clearly shows that that GDP growth and CO2 emissions are diverging. Siddharth Singh at the IEA presents the numbers.

In advanced economies that divergence now seems locked in, with 2007 marking the moment of peak emissions (and not simply because of offshoring manufacturing). Even in developing economies GDP growth is far outpacing emissions growth; including China, India, and many nations in Africa, Eurasia and Latin America. Only a handful of countries and regions remain where GDP and emissions continue to rise together, says Singh, in Southeast Asia and the Middle East (which together account for only 6.6% of global GDP). The main drivers of success are the rapid growth in clean energy (today, $1.8 are invested in clean energy for every dollar in fossil fuels), a growing trend of electrification globally, improvements in energy efficiency, and transitions away from coal. It’s all pointing to an emissions peak well before 2030. But limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C will still take more effort.

Since the dawn of the industrial age, fossil fuels have been a key enabler of economic development, providing the fuel that generated most of the world’s electricity, powering automobiles, ships and aircraft, and fuelling industrial activity. As a result, economic growth has been closely tied to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions through most of modern economic history.

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Energy Post, 19 Feb 2024: The link between global GDP growth and CO2 emissions is weakening rapidly. Will emissions peak well before 2030?