Carbon emissions from the worlds electricity systems have fallen by 2% over the last year.
The drop is the biggest in almost 30 years and down to countries beginning to turn their backs on coal-fired power plants in favour of cleaner energy sources.
A drop has been highlighted by a new report from climate thinktank Ember on the world’s electricity generation. It revealed the sharpest cut in carbon emissions since 1990
In total electricity generated by coal power dropped by 3%. It isn’t all good news though. China doubled down on its reliance on coal, with its usage climbing again for another year. China now makes up 50% of the world coal generation. Meanwhile, Europe and the US have halved their coal generation since 2007.
However, Ember (who published the report) point to other factors in reducing coal usage. Last year saw particularly mild winters across many nations reducing their need to generate electricity to heat homes.
While on paper the US might be outpacing the EU in terms of reducing its reliance on coal, that masks the fact that it has substituted coal for cheap shale gas which makes little difference to total emissions compared to the rapid rollout of wind and solar power.
Thankfully the report revealed that renewable wind and solar power has risen by 15% in 2019 to nows makes up 8% of the world’s electricity. While this is a positive step it falls short of the Paris Climate Goals which needs a compound growth rate of 15% for wind and solar generation every year.
Ember has published its data as an interactive app. You can explore the worlds electricity usage across 2019 now at ember.shinyapps.io