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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Stopped Growing in 2019: IEA

Global CO2 emissions flatlined in 2019, said international energy agency

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IEA
Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions stopped growing in 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Pixabay

Despite widespread expectations of another increase, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions stopped growing in 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

The US recorded the largest emissions decline on a country basis, with a fall of 140 million tonnes, or 2.9 per cent.

After two years of growth, global emissions were unchanged at 33 gigatonnes in 2019 even as the world economy expanded by 2.9 per cent.

This was primarily due to declining emissions from electricity generation in advanced economies, thanks to the expanding role of renewable sources, mainly wind and solar, fuel switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power generation.

IEA
The IEA is building a grand coalition focused on reducing emissions — encompassing governments, companies, investors and everyone with a genuine commitment to tackling our climate challenge. Pixabay

Other factors included milder weather in several countries, and slower economic growth in some emerging markets.

“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,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.

“We have the energy technologies to do this, and we have to make use of them all. The IEA is building a grand coalition focused on reducing emissions — encompassing governments, companies, investors and everyone with a genuine commitment to tackling our climate challenge.”

A significant decrease in emissions in advanced economies in 2019 offset continued growth elsewhere.

US emissions are now down by almost 1 gigatonne from their peak in 2000.

Emissions in the European Union fell by 160 million tonnes, or 5 per cent, in 2019 driven by reductions in the power sector.

IEA CO2
The US recorded the largest emissions decline on a country basis, with a fall of 140 million tonnes, or 2.9 per cent. Pixabay

Natural gas produced more electricity than coal for the first time ever. Meanwhile, wind-powered electricity nearly caught up with coal-fired electricity.

Japan’s emissions fell by 45 million tonnes, or around 4 per cent, the fastest pace of decline since 2009, as output from recently restarted nuclear reactors increased.

Emissions in the rest of the world grew by close to 400 million tonnes in 2019, with almost 80 per cent of the increase coming from countries in Asia where coal-fired power generation continued to rise.

Across advanced economies, emissions from the power sector declined to levels last seen in the late 1980s, when electricity demand was one-third lower than today.

Coal-fired power generation in advanced economies declined by nearly 15 per cent as a result of growth in renewables, coal-to-gas switching, a rise in nuclear power and weaker electricity demand.

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“This welcome halt in emissions growth is grounds for optimism that we can tackle the climate challenge this decade,” said Birol.

“It is evidence that clean energy transitions are underway — and it’s also a signal that we have the opportunity to meaningfully move the needle on emissions through more ambitious policies and investments.” (IANS)

Next Story

New Species of Soil Bacteria Can Fight Soil Pollutants

This bacteria to fight climate change, soil pollutants

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Researchers have found a new species of soil bacteria that is particularly adept at breaking down organic matter. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Researchers have found a new species of soil bacteria that is particularly adept at breaking down organic matter, including the cancer-causing chemicals that are released when coal, gas, oil and refuse are burned.

The newly discovered bacteria belong to the genus Paraburkholderia madseniana, which are known for their ability to degrade aromatic compounds and, in some species, the capacity to form root nodules that fix atmospheric nitrogen.

According to the study, researchers at Cornell University in the US with colleagues from Lycoming College described the new bacterium in a paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Soil bacteria
The bacteria has the capacity to form root nodules that fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The first step was sequencing the bacterium’s ribosomal RNA genes, which provided genetic evidence that madseniana was a unique species.

In studying the new bacteria, the researchers noticed that madseniana is especially adept at breaking down aromatic hydrocarbons, which make up lignin, a major component of plant biomass and soil organic matter.

According to the researchers, aromatic hydrocarbons are also found in toxic PAH pollution.

This means that the newly identified bacteria could be a candidate for biodegradation research and an important player in the soil carbon cycle.

In the case of madseniana, Buckley’s lab wants to learn more about the symbiotic relationship between the bacteria and forest trees.

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Initial research suggests that trees feed carbon to the bacteria, and in turn the bacteria degrade soil organic matter, thereby releasing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus for the trees.

Understanding how bacteria break down carbon in soil could hold the key to the sustainability of the land and the ability to predict the future of global climate, the researchers said. (IANS)