Energy agency says world carbon emissions stalled last year; climate activists cheer

Economic Indicators Associated Press

The International Energy Agency says global carbon emissions stayed stable last year even though the economy grew, according to new data that could boost the chances for a landmark climate accord later this year.

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The Paris-based agency said Friday the energy sector produced 32.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide last year, the same as in 2013.

Over the past 40 years, the only other times that emissions stayed the same or shrank were during economic downturns — in the early 1980s, in 1992 and in 2009. The IEA said rising use of renewable energy, particularly in China, kept the figures stable in 2014.

Incoming IEA director Fatih Birol called it "a very welcome surprise and a significant one," because it shows that countries can grow economically without producing more emissions.