Energy Emissions Stall as Rich Nations Kick Their Coal Habit – by Dan Murtaugh and Jeremy Hodges (Bloomberg News – February 11, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Global emissions from energy held steady in 2019 for the first time in three years. But the restraint all came from the U.S. and Europe as developing countries boosted use of the most polluting fossil fuels.

The findings from the International Energy Agency show energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remained at a record 33.3 billion tons. While industrial countries cut pollution levels to the lowest since 1993, the developing world led by India and China offset those declines.

The result leave a glimmer of hope that policy makers can contain the greenhouse gases damaging the atmosphere. That would require China, which is the biggest polluter, and India, whose emissions are growing rapidly, to embrace the economy-wide limits that European countries are adopting. Scientists say increasing heat waves and more violent storms are likely without rapid cuts in greenhouse gases.

“This welcome halt in emissions growth is grounds for optimism that we can tackle the climate challenge this decade,” Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, said in a statement. “We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth.”

Burning coal, oil and natural gas accounts for the bulk of the greenhouse-gas pollution. Other activities such as raising livestock and deforestation contribute smaller amounts.

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