“Slowdown” of world’s carbon emissions rise in 2012

The rise of the world’s carbon emissions slowed down in 2012 according to new figures from the European Commission’s in-house scientists and the Dutch environmental assessment agency PBL. Actual global […]

By Vicky Ellis

The rise of the world’s carbon emissions slowed down in 2012 according to new figures from the European Commission’s in-house scientists and the Dutch environmental assessment agency PBL.

Actual global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) hit 34.5 billion tonnes last year, a rise of 1.1% since 2011. That’s less than half the average yearly increase of 2.9% over the last decade.

The researchers behind the report ‘Trends in global CO2 emissions’ released yesterday say this is “remarkable” given the global economy grew by 3.5% in 2012 compared to 2011.

They believe the figures show a shift towards less fossil-fuel intensive activities, more use of renewable energy and increased energy saving.

If the price of carbon on the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) can be bolstered, the USA can up its use of renewables and China can keep to its cap on energy use for 2015, even more of a “slowdown” could be “achievable” adds the research.

However the research doesn’t appear to include other greenhouse gases.

The researchers also noted that soon developing countries will be responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions. Campaigners say this shows the developed world is still emitting too much.

Friends of the Earth’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Craig Bennett said: “With less than a fifth of the world’s population, developed countries continue to be responsible for over half of historical emissions – and a good chunk of our emissions are caused by importing goods made in developing countries.

“Rich countries need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and provide finance and clean technology to developing countries as they grow.”