Good News: World Economy Grows, CO2 Emissions Flatline

posted: 06/22/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Industry chimney and exhaust fumes

The world economy continues to grow as carbon dioxide emissions stagnate for the first time in four decades, according to a new report the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). On average, the world's Gross Domestic Product swells 3% annually, and energy usage increases 1.5% each year. Carbon emissions, however, were flat between 2013 and 2014.

The report cites support from policymakers across the globe as being instrumental in getting carbon emissions in check. Investment in renewable energy capacity grew 17% in 2014, to a total of $270.2 billion -- more than twice the amount invested in fossil fuel capacity. Worldwide production of wind, solar and hydropower increased noticeably in recent years: solar power capacity alone has increased 48-fold in the past decade.

REN21 attributes much of the "decoupling" to China, a worldwide leader in renewable energy investment. China was responsible for 63% of all investment from developing nations.

"Renewable energy and improved energy efficiency are key to limiting global warming," remarked Arthouros Zervos, chair of REN21.

Across the globe, however, more than a billion people still lack access to electricity. "Further attention needs to be paid to the role that distributed renewable energy technologies can play in reducing these numbers by providing essential and productive energy services in remote and rural areas," the report notes.

Click here to read the full report from REN21

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