New Report Confirms We Can Fight Climate Change While Growing the Global Economy
The arguments in favor of climate solutions continue to get stronger. In yet another piece of good news on the climate front, new research from thinktank Heinrich Böll found that many developed nations have already decoupled carbon emissions from economic growth. Members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) boosted their economies by 16 percent from 2004 to 2014, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption. As the Guardian reports, they were able to achieve this through more efficient energy generation, increased use of clean energy, better energy efficiency on the part of consumers, and a shift from carbon-intensive manufacturing to the service sector.
While the developing world is still largely dependent on fossil fuels, the report found that China has also begun decoupling its economic growth from its fossil fuel use. Chinese industry continues to expand, but it is increasingly powered by renewable energy, while coal use has flattened out. However, India is a different story, at least currently – which is why it’s so important for the developed world to help developing nations transition to clean energy.
By Bruce Watson, contributor to the Guardian
New report from green think tank Heinrich Boll shows OECD countries grew their economies 16% in last decade – and cut greenhouse gas emissions 6.4%
As the world works out how to avoid catastrophic climate change, one of the biggest questions remaining is whether we can continue to grow economically without also increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
New research released this week at Climate Week NYC offers more hope that the answer might be yes. Prepared for green thinktank Heinrich Böll by DIW Econ, a German institute for economic research, the study found that, as a whole, countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have already decoupled their economic growth from emissions.
From 2004 to 2014, OECD countries grew their economies by 16% all together, while cutting fossil fuel consumption by 6% and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6.4%, according to the report. The findings echo the results of an International Energy Association study earlier this year, which found that global emissions remained flat in 2014 while global GDP rose, marking a historical milestone.
Image credit: Mick Tsikas/Reuters