Stable Emissions Show Growth and Mitigation Possible, Envoy Says

A report showing that global emissions were unchanged last year shows economic growth is possible amid the fight against climate change, a World Bank official said.

Carbon-dioxide emissions were stable at 32.3 billion metric tons, even as the global economy advanced 3 percent, the International Energy Agency said in a statement on Friday. It was the first time that has happened amid economic growth in 40 years, the Paris-based agency said, citing preliminary estimates.

“The IEA report was terribly important because it shows it can be done,” Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s special envoy for climate change said Monday. “It shows that we can begin to really plan growth that is low-carbon and resilient and we can begin to decouple growth from carbonization.”

The IEA said the halt in emissions growth is attributable to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. China, the world’s largest emitter, generated more electricity from renewable sources such as hydropower and solar, and less from coal last year, the agency said.

“Here we have evidence it can be done through smart policies, smart fiscal, macro economic and energy pricing policies,” Kyte said.

The World Bank envoy is in Japan for a United Nations conference on disaster risk reduction in Sendai north of Tokyo.

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