Finally, some good news on the climate front. The boffins at the International Energy Agency have just announced that in 2019, global carbon emissions from electricity generation flatlined for the first time in over a decade.
For once, we are not fucking up the atmosphere at an increasing rate. In fact, we’ve outdone ourselves.
Analysts predicted that emissions would get worse last year as the global economy grew. Typically emissions only drop when the economy is in the shitter, like during the 2009 Global Financial Crisis. But thanks to an uptake in renewable energy, we managed to keep emissions from climbing.
“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 Dr 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 biggest strides came from the likes of the US, Europe and Japan, where combined emissions from the power sector fell to late 1980s levels. Considering how much more electricity us lot use nowadays, this is a huge victory for renewables.
This progress offset the 400 million tonne increase from the rest of the world, which unfortunately includes Australia. As bush fires and storms ravage the country, politicians are still using coal as a prop in parliament.
While the rest of the rest of the world is generally investing in renewable energy and moving away from coal, our very own government is threatening to tear itself apart over the issue. Senior members of the National Party are defying Scott Morrison in an attempt to keep investing in coal.
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, in particular, is pushing for the government to keep subsidising new coal power stations, even when electricity companies themselves are now saying renewables and gas are cheaper.
If 2019 is to be our global turning point, Australia needs to get on board.
Image: AAP / Lukas Coch