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Economic growth does not mean increasing carbon dioxide emissions

Economic growth does not mean increasing carbon dioxide emissions

Energy principle


Increased growth no longer has to come with increased emissions. Image: Martin Meissner

The world has moved away from the old truth that increased emissions come with increased growth. That’s what The Economist writes in a comprehensive compilation of emissions trends in rich and poor countries.

A major role in the Industrial Revolution came when Abraham Darby discovered in 1709 in the western English village of Coalbrookdale that fossil coal from nearby mines worked better than the more commonly used coal.

It was also the beginning of global warming, which has gradually increased with the prosperity of nations for a long time. But this is now an old fact, observe Economist and refers to statistics from “The Global Carbon Project”.

33 countries have now reduced carbon dioxide emissions while maintaining GDP growth. Of these countries, three-fifths are European, but other examples include the United States, Australia, Israel, Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay. In Mexico, for example, emissions have fallen 16 percent since their peak in 2012. The figures also include emissions for imported goods.

When regional emissions are accounted for, they have fallen significantly in many European countries, such as Sweden and Great Britain. In Great Britain, regional emissions peaked in 1970.

One reason is that countries that have now taken over the production of goods exported to rich countries have become more efficient in their production. For example, China’s carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 2008 at 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. In 2019, the corresponding figure fell to 1 billion tonnes, notes The Economist.

One reason for climate optimism is that poor countries are industrializing differently than their predecessors.

For example, COP27 host country Egypt reached its peak in carbon dioxide emissions in 2017, according to data from the Global Carbon Project. India and Vietnam, which are becoming exporters as trade shifts away from China, are significantly greener than their rivals. . In 2007, when China was as rich as India today, it emitted twice as much carbon dioxide. This is despite the fact that India and Vietnam are still coal rich. The difference lies in how effectively they use it, writes The Economist.

The Economist: Economic growth does not mean more carbon emissions

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