Feb 17, 2020

Flatline in carbon emissions last year is largely a result of market forces


The International Energy Agency (IEA) issued an “unexpected” pronouncement last week – global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions didn’t rise in 2019, even though the world economy expanded by 2.9 per cent. The “flatline” came from a significant decrease in emissions from advanced economies, offsetting increases elsewhere in the world. Switching from coal to natural gas, according to the IEA, played a role in cutting these emissions.

What does this news mean for Canada? In their Globe and Mail opinion piece, authors Patrick Smith and Marla Orenstein argue that Canada has a role to play in the global coal-to-gas story. “As coal remains the largest power source internationally at more than a 38-per-cent share of the global energy mix, Canada has an opportunity to help displace coal with natural gas around the world – a benefit for our economy, and a route to help global emissions continue to drop,” they write.

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