As the climate targets tighten and countries are impacted by several crises, understanding how and under which conditions carbon dioxide emissions peak and start declining is gaining importance. We assess the timing of emissions peaks in all major emitters (1965–2019) and the extent to which past economic crises have impacted structural drivers of emissions contributing to emission peaks. We show that in 26 of 28 countries that have peaked emissions, the peak occurred just before or during a recession through the combined effect of lower economic growth (1.5 median percentage points per year) and decreasing energy and/or carbon intensity (0.7) during and after the crisis. In peak-and-decline countries, crises have typically magnified pre-existing improvements in structural change. In non-peaking countries, economic growth was less affected, and structural change effects were weaker or increased emissions. Crises do not automatically trigger peaks but may strengthen ongoing decarbonisation trends through several mechanisms.
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- Academic Articles
Bersalli, G., Tröndle, T., & Lilliestam, J. (2023). Most industrialised countries have peaked carbon dioxide emissions during economic crises through strengthened structural change. Communications earth & environment, 4: 44. doi:10.1038/s43247-023-00687-8.
- https://publications.rifs-potsdam.de/rest/items/item_6002700_3/component/file_6… https://zenodo.org/record/7474121
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- The Transition to a Renewable Electricity System and its Interactions with Other Policy Aims (TRIPOD) Identifying Positive Tipping Points towards Clean Energy Transitions in Carbon Intensive Regions (Tipping+)