Carbon dioxide emissions increased in 2012 by less than half the average of the past decade, indicating a step toward a “permanent slowdown” in rising CO2 emissions, according to a report released Thursday.
Emissions rose by 1.4 percent in 2012, down from a 2.9 percent average increase over the last ten years. The drop was partially due to a shift away from fossil fuels, spurred by new developments like the rise of shale gas in the United States and renewable energy use globally. Slower economic growth in places like China and greater energy efficiency also accounted for the drop, according to the report.
The U.S., China, and the European Union remain the largest contributors to emissions, accounting for 55% of the global figure. Emissions growth in China, the world’s largest contributer, was down to 3% from a 10% average over the past decade.
In the U.S., emissions were down overall 4%.
The annual report was published by the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.