Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) recently released its 2019 assessment of global carbon emissions that showed a worldwide increase of 1.9% in emissions between 2017 and 2018.
The reports data tracks CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions covering the period from 1990 to 2018.
The report was characterized by downplaying the continuing and significant global emissions increasing trend while hyping EU lower emissions outcomes as follows:
“JRC director for energy, climate and transport Piotr Szymanski said: “While energy-related activities are and will remain a major source of greenhouse gas emissions at the global level, in the latest decades the European Union has succeeded in decoupling the energy sector from the economic growth.”
“Indeed, the transition to a modern, low carbon and energy-efficient economy is underway, and Europe is on a credible pathway to meeting its Paris Agreement commitments.”
The actual JRC global emissions data however presents a clear picture of worldwide climbing emissions growth with the unabated ever-rising emissions outcomes from the report shown below.
Unlike the ever upward climbing global trend the EU nations have shown downward trends in emissions outcomes going back more than a decade.
The EU nation emissions reductions are overwhelmed by emissions increases from the developing nations led by China and India.
Additionally the ability of the EU to continue to achieve future emissions reductions is in serious question as numerous EU countries are challenging the energy direction and need for these costly efforts as noted in recent reports presented below.
These EU nation driven challenges and issues render claims made by the JRC that the EU has successfully decoupled “the energy sector from economic growth” as premature and clearly suggest that emissions reduction gains made thus far by the EU are unsustainable in the long run because of the massive expenditures required as well as exposing the region to energy reliability and security concerns.
The EU has committed trillions of euros on its government mandated lower emission schemes that have failed to change the upward trajectory of global emissions.
Additionally these EU climate alarmist schemes have jeopardized the future reliability and security of its energy supply and made the EU dependent on Russian gas.
The U.S. has reduced its CO2 emissions from peak levels during the last decade by nearly 1 billion metric tons largely achieved through the replacement of coal fuel power plants with plants using energy market driven lower cost, higher efficiency and lower emissions natural gas.
But these downward emissions trends led by the U.S. and the EU have trivial impacts on arresting the ever upward increasing global emissions trends that are completely dominated by the world’s developing nations.
In the last decade the world’s developing nations led by China and India have grown to be accountable for about 60 percent of all global energy use and two-thirds of all global CO2 emissions.
The developing nations 2018 energy needs are supplied 87.5 percent by fossil fuels and only 2.8 percent by renewables.
Developing nations accounted for 98.5 percent of all global energy growth in the last decade and 100 percent of all global CO2 emissions increases during this period.
Year 2018 emissions data shows the developing nations CO2 emissions increased by over 4.5 billion metric tons in the last decade while the developed nations including the EU nations reduced CO2 emissions by I billion metric tons with the U.S. providing the largest country decrease during this period.
Shown below are 2019 JRC report emissions data graphs for many of the largest (based upon population and energy use) developing nations (starting with China and India and then alphabetically) that clearly demonstrate the dominance of global energy and emissions upward trends by the world’s developing nations with their ever increasing energy use driving the continued and unstoppable growth in global emissions.
Despite the JRC report hyped claims alleging progress toward lowering global emissions levels and attained decoupling of the energy sector from economic growth actual global energy use and emissions outcomes demonstrate that these claims have zero credibility.