Eighteen countries from developed economies have had declining carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels for at least a decade. While every nation is unique, they share some common themes that can show Australia, and the world, a viable path to reducing emissions.
Global CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels continue to increase, with record high emissions in 2018 and further growth anticipated for 2019. This trend is linked to global economic growth, which is largely still powered by the burning of fossil fuels.
Significant reductions in the energy and carbon intensities of the global economy have not been sufficient to trigger decreases in global emissions.
But 18 countries have been doing something different. A new analysis sheds light on how they have changed their emission trajectories. There is no “silver bullet”, and every country has unique characteristics, but three elements emerge from the group: a high penetration of renewable energy in the electricity sector, a decline in energy use, and a high number of energy and climate policies in place. Something is working for these countries.