An expert from the International Energy Agency (IEA) has told ELN progress is being made towards the COP21 climate targets.
Kamel Bennaceur, Director for Sustainable Energy Policies and Technologies, said the first clear signs of carbon usage and GDP decoupling can now be seen.
He told ELN: “In 2015, despite a worldwide growth of 2 -3.5% in GDP, the emissions did not increase and that was thanks to progress in renewables, progress in energy efficiency and also transformation of economies like China.”
This gap opening has only previously happened during the Second Oil Shock, the collapse of the USSR and the 2008 economic downturn.
Mr Bennaceur said renewable capacity is at an all time high, with 150GW installed last year. Wind and solar power prices have halved in the last three or four years and are now competitive with coal.
According to the IEA, 50% of the world population currently live in cities, with the figure forecast to rise to 70% by 2050. China, India, Africa and non-OECD countries will see the greatest growth.
Mr Bennaceur suggests these developing cities have the advantage of being able to build their infrastructure around green technologies rather than having to expensively convert an existing system.
He believes progress is also being made in the transport sector, with 70% electric vehicle growth in 2015. This is largely down to improvements in energy storage and the cost of batteries leading to increased use in countries like Norway and Denmark.