NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: PROOF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS ARE BEING DECOUPLED FROM ECONOMIC GROWTH

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YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: Trump Truth And Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: The Daily Show Talks Pipeline Politics
  • Weekend Video: Beyond Polar Bears – The Real Science Of Climate Change
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Aussie Farmers Worrying About Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 1
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 2
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy And Historic Buildings In Europe
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, December 1:

  • TTTA Thursday-First Daughter Ivanka May Fight For Climate
  • TTTA Thursday-Low Profile High Power Ocean Wind Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-A Visionary Solar Power Plant
  • TTTA Thursday-EVs Have A Growth Path
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How The Clean Power Plan Drove The Utility Power Mix Transition
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Utilities Are Answering The Distributed Energy Resources Challenge
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Looking At New Rates To Unlock The Utility Of The Future
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Power Potential Of Personal Wind
  • QUICK NEWS, November 29: Climate Change Forces Hard Choices In Alaska; New Energy To Utilities-“Can’t-Beat-Us-So-Join-Us”; Fact-Checking Trump Hot Air On Wind
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Getting More New Energy On The Grid
  • QUICK NEWS, November 28, 2016: Pope Talks Climate Change At Trump; Solar Comes To The Mall; The Big Possibilities Of Backyard Wind
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, December 5:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Way For New Energy To Meet Peak Demand
  • QUICK NEWS, December 5: Trial Of The Century Coming On Climate; The Wind-Solar Synergy; The Still Rising Sales Of Cars With Plugs

    Monday, October 05, 2015

    TODAY’S STUDY: PROOF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS ARE BEING DECOUPLED FROM ECONOMIC GROWTH

    Turning point: Decoupling Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Economic Growth

    Lars Handrich, Claudia Kemfert, Anselm Mattes, Ferdinand Pavel, Thure Traber, September 2015 (DIW Econ)

    Executive Summary

    The transformation of economic growth towards a lower dependency on fossil fuels and related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is essential for the feasibility of a successful global climate strategy. The year 2014 was the first in decades that saw worldwide economic growth and a reduction of energy-related GHG emissions. This study attempts to explore these developments and illuminate the drivers through descriptive data analysis, a review of empirical research and a regression analysis. The assessment covers data for the period 1990 to 2014 and includes economic growth, energy-related GHG emissions, energy consumption and energy carriers for 34 countries. Particular emphasis is put on the often-cited examples of China, the US and Germany, which are then compared with the OECD aggregate, India and the worldwide picture.

    This study distinguishes weak and strong decoupling of energy consumption from economic growth to analyze specific evolutions. Weak decoupling is defined as a reduction of energy intensity, i.e., energy consumption per GDP, while absolute consumption still rises with economic growth. Strong decoupling is present, if total energy consumption falls with economic growth. Furthermore, this concept is applied to the analysis of decoupling from GHG emissions and to decoupling from conventional energy as the sum of nuclear and fossil energy consumption.

    Regarding the past decade, it turns out that global growth went along with an increase of energy use, and that despite a steady decrease of conventional energy intensity. This weak decoupling process was facilitated by greater energy efficiency and the roll-out of renewables. Since 2004, solar and wind have been the fastest growing energy sources worldwide, and they saw substantially accelerated growth over the last four years. This is true for China, India and the OECD group of countries. Moreover, our empirical assessment of the causal relationships suggests that renewables may even promote economic growth. For climate policy this presents an optimistic perspective. In particular, the OECD countries show a strong decoupling of conventional energy and of emissions over the last decade. As exemplified by Germany, a successful renewable energy strategy combined with substantial energy savings will result in substantial emissions reductions – and that despite the phasing out of nuclear energy.

    China and India are of particular importance for global trends due to their high growth rates. However, their growth follows diverging patterns. While on a continued economic growth path, China succeeded in a weak decoupling from conventional energy requirements and emissions. Moreover, strong decoupling seems possible in the near future. In 2014, China stopped the expansion of coal use and met the modest 3% growth in energy consumption mainly with less emission intensive energy sources such as natural gas, wind and solar power. By contrast, India’s renewable energy expansion is more than canceled out by investment in emission-intensive power sources, mainly coal-fired power plants.

    For the US, the second largest GHG emitter, the outlook is unclear. Although the US has successfully combined substantial economic growth with a reduction in total emissions, strong decoupling has not continued since 2012. If China succeeds to further reduce its emissions, this will send strong signals towards a global low-carbon transition.

    Conclusion

    We observe a global trend of weak decoupling of conventional energy from growth (measured as reduced conventional energy intensity) over the last five years. A global strong decoupling from energy-related emissions seems viable.

    Strong decoupling over the last decade with a reduction of total energy consumption and emissions despite economic growth is observed for the OECD countries.

    Since 2004, solar and wind are the fastest growing energy sources worldwide, and they saw substantially accelerated growth over the last four years.

    Germany, thanks to a substantial hike in energy efficiency over the last decade, exemplifies strong decoupling of energy and emissions. The rollout of renewables has more than compensated for the nuclear-phase out and the slight rise in coal usage after the financial crisis.

    In the US, absolute energy consumption has been growing lately, and shale gas usage and renewable energy may suffice only for a weak decoupling of emissions from growth. On a ten-year basis, total energy slightly decreased despite only moderate energy savings.

    China is on a weak decoupling course with decreasing energy requirements and emissions per additional GDP. Strong decoupling seems possible in the near future.

    In India, renewable energies are challenged by investment in conventional emission-intensive types of energy generation.

    China and India are particularly important for worldwide trends due to their high growth rates.

    An empirical causality analysis of panel data including the years 1990 to 2014 reveals bi-directional impacts between renewables, conventional energy and GDP, indicating a feed-back relationship. Substitutability of conventional energy by renewable energy together with growth effects of renewables gives support for a viable decoupling policy.

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