REN21 Reports Decoupling of CO2 Emissions and Economic Growth in 2014
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For the first time in four decades, the world's gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2014 without a coinciding rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the Renewables 2015 Global Status Report.

The report also finds that 2014 was a record year for wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, and that investments in renewables, excluding large-scale hydropower, reached US$270.2 billion.

The developing world accounted for almost half that figure, at US$131.3 billion.

REN2118 June 2015: For the first time in four decades, the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2014 without a coinciding rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the Renewables 2015 Global Status Report. The report also finds that 2014 was a record year for wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, and that investments in renewables, excluding large-scale hydropower, reached US$270.2 billion. The developing world accounted for almost half that figure, at US$131.3 billion.

Released on 18 June 2015 by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) at the Vienna Energy Forum, the 10th edition of the Status Report tracks renewable energy capacity additions, policies and investments in 2014. According to the report, total installed capacity of renewable energy power reached 1,712 gigawatts (GW), an 8.5% increase over 2013. At the close of 2014, renewables claimed a 27.7% estimated share of global power generating capacity, which is sufficient to supply approximately 22.8% of global electricity demand, as stated in the report.

REN21 reports that the 135 GW of renewables capacity added, largely in China, helped meet rising energy demand. The world saw an average rise of 1.5% in energy consumption and a 3% increase in GDP. However, the authors report, CO2 emissions remained steady at 2013 levels. Investments in renewable power and fuel grew by 3% in developed economies, while such investment grew by 36% in developing countries, with China accounting for 63% of the total in the developing world.

The policies fueling renewables additions include renewable energy targets in an additional 20 countries, bringing the total countries with such targets to 164. On policy support for non-renewable sources of energy, REN21 Executive Secretary Christine Lins stressed the importance of creating “a level playing field” to “strengthen the development and use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.” She added that the removal of fossil-fuel and nuclear subsidies globally “would make it evident that renewables are the cheapest energy option.”

The report also tracked renewables jobs, highlighting that 7.7 million people were employed directly or indirectly in the industry in 2014. The report also notes that upwards of one billion people still lack access to electricity, suggesting that distributed renewable energy technologies can bring electricity access to those living remote or rural areas. [Publication: Renewables 2015 Global Status Report] [REN21 Press Release] [Renewables 2015 Global Status Report Key Findings] [REN21 Renewables Global Status Report Publication Webpage]


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