EU fossil fuel CO2 emissions hit 60-year low

(The Guardian, 24 Jan 2024) Fossil emissions ‘finally back to 1960s levels’, say analysts, but they warn levels are still falling too slowly.

The European Union pumped out 8% less carbon dioxide from the fossil fuels it burned in 2023 than it did in 2022, the Guardian can reveal, pushing these emissions down to their lowest level in 60 years.

The fall in planet-heating pollution is the steepest yearly drop on record behind 2020, when governments shuttered factories and grounded flights to stop the spread of Covid-19, according to analysis from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea).

“EU CO2 emissions have finally fallen back to levels apparent in my parents’ generation in the 1960s,” said Isaac Levi, an analyst at Crea. “Yet, over this time period, the economy has tripled – showing that climate change can be combated without foregoing economic growth.”

More than half of the drop in emissions came from the use of cleaner electricity, the report found. The EU built record levels of solar panels and wind turbines in 2023, according to industry data, and was able to make more electricity from dams and nuclear power plants that had been struck by drought and repair work the year before.

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The Guardian, 24 Jan 2024: EU fossil fuel CO2 emissions hit 60-year low