Asia learns to run while exhaling less CO2

27 November 2017 | Mitigation

Slowly but surely, the world is learning to grow its economy while emitting less.

Over the 15 years to 2015, the amount of global carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product dropped by about 20%.

Not so long ago, economic growth was seen as going hand in hand with rising emissions, but recent statistics show a "decoupling" of the two. And the fast growing economies of Asia are chugging along. Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product, calculated in purchasing power parity, have dropped by 26% in China from the year 2000, 23% in South Korea and 18% in India.

Looking across Asia (excluding China), average CO2 emission per unit of GDP was 0.23 kg in 2015, down 18% from 2000. The trajectory was similar to the global average, which dropped 18% during the same period to 0.31 kg.

According to the International Energy Agency, global CO2 emissions have stayed flat for the three years leading to 2016 while the economy grew by roughly 3% in each of those years. In 2015, the amount of CO2 emitted to produce $10,000 of global GDP was 3.1 tons. In 2000 it took 3.8 tons. The amount of CO2 emissions from burnt fuel totaled 32.1 billion tons in 2016, down 0.6% from a year earlier.

A year after the Paris climate agreement took effect in November 2016, pressure has been building on companies and nations to cut emissions that cause global warming, raising of the question how this will affect the global economy. So far, the signs have been positive.

Behind the decoupling are three trends. Companies actively switching to more renewable energy, those renewable energies spreading to developing nations and the world's largest emitters, namely China and the U.S., turning away from greenhouse gas emitting sources of power.



Source: Asian Review