GREENHOUSE gases are projected to drop in 2015 for the first time while the global economy still grew, signalling the transition to a zero-emissions economy is already underway.
The projected dip of 0.6 per cent over 2014 levels, if confirmed, marks the first decline in heat-trapping pollutants in a year when the world economy was not in recession, a new analysis published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change reveals.
Climate Councillor Professor Will Steffen said the significant reduction in coal use by China and the increase in uptake of renewable energy were likely behind the encouraging news.
“Although it is too early to say this is a trend and researchers predict it’s not likely to last, it is an encouraging sign that we may see a peak in the world’s output of greenhouse gases in the near future,” he said.
“It’s also another signal that coal is in structural decline as the world’s economies and energy systems transition to being powered by the wind and the sun.”
Professor Steffen said 2015 had also been notable for the number of climate records broken, highlighting the urgency of the transition to renewable energy.
“2015 will be the hottest year on record in the hottest five-year-period on record and the world has hit the one degree of warming milestone for the first time,” he said.
“Although global greenhouse gas emissions are projected to drop slightly this year, they are still very high and need to be reduced much more deeply and quickly. It’s clear that the transition to renewable energy must be turbocharged if we are to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.”
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