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Slowdown in CO2 emissions

NETHERLANDS: Global greenhouse gas emissions are said to have shown a slowdown in growth, over the last three years.

New figures from the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency show that emissions reached 49.3Gt of CO2e in 2016, with calculated increases of 1.0%, 0.2% and 0.5% in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. 2016 was a leap year and, therefore, about 0.3% longer than a normal year.

The Dutch agency observes that the 2016 emission increase was the slowest since the early 1990s, except for global recession years. This result is said to be mainly the result of lower coal consumption from fuel switches to natural gas and increased renewable power generation, particularly in wind and solar power.

Most of the emissions (about 72%) consist of CO2, but methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases (F-gases) also make up substantial shares (19%, 6% and 3%, respectively). These percentages do not include net emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF).

F-gases show large differences in growth rates and large uncertainties in emissions. The largest sub-categories are HFC134a from refrigeration and air conditioning (about 19%), HFC125 and HFC143a from consumption (17% and 19%), and HFC23, which is a by-product of the production of HCFC22 (19%).

Most countries/regions showed a decrease in CO2 emissions in 2016; most notably the USA (-2.0%), the Russian Federation (-2.1%), Brazil (-6.1%), China (-0.3%), and the UK (-6.4%). In contrast, the largest absolute increases were seen in India (+4.7%) and Indonesia (+6.4%) and smaller increases in Malaysia, Philippines, Turkey and Ukraine. With an estimated 0.2% increase in CO2 emissions, emissions in the European Union remained more or less the same in 2016. In contrast to most of the main emitters, the emissions from the rest of the world show a rising trend.

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