Renewables Surge, Emissions Flatline

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Pollution in Beijing: Credit @NNTD

Hopeful news this morning from the IEA. Global energy-related CO2 emissions – the largest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions – stayed flat for the second year in a row, according to preliminary data for 2015.

The news comes after the average global surface temperature in February was reported to be 1.35C warmer than the average temperature for the month between 1951-1980, a far bigger margin than ever seen before.

The previous record, set just one month earlier in January, was 1.15C above the long-term average for that month. Arctic ice meanwhile was at record lows in 2015. The climate change juggernaut is ramping up.

While emissions from energy use remain huge, the IEA report shows the extent to which renewables have made inroads into the market in China, where emissions declined by 1.5%, as coal use dropped for the second year in a row.

In 2015, coal still generated nearly 70% of Chinese electricity, but this was 10%less than four years ago, while over the same period low-carbon sources jumped from 19% to 28%, with hydro and wind accounting for most of the increase.

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