Global Carbon Budget: Emissions appear to have stalled, and may even decline in 2015

The Global Carbon Project – which tracks emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases – recently released its annual Global Carbon Budget trends and analysis for 2015.

So what is the Global Carbon Budget, exactly? You can read the nitty gritty below, or check out this video for a handy explainer:

The 2015 analysis found that although global CO2 emissions have risen rapidly over the past decade, at around 2.4% each year, emissions appear to have stalled over the last year (growing by just 0.6%) and could even decline slightly in 2015.

The projected decline for 2015 is largely down to China’s decreased coal use, driven by its economic adjustment, as well as the increase in uptake of renewable energy.

But it’s not all good news – although it may look like the trajectory of global emissions has changed, it’s unlikely that emissions have peaked for good. This is because energy needs for growing economies still rely primarily on coal, and emissions decreases in some industrial countries are still modest at best.

The world is still emitting massive amounts of CO2 annually – around 36 billion tonnes from fossil fuels and industry alone, with Australia emitting over 1% of the world’s total carbon emissions from fossil fuels, making it the 14th largest contributor globally.

And despite the slowing of CO2 emissions globally, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has now reached 400 parts per million, the highest level in at least 800,000 years.

So – although there's still a long way to go to reach zero emissions, the latest analysis showing that emissions seem to be slowing down and may even reduce in 2015 is very encouraging.

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