That was the headline of a recent article in Canary Media. It’s an optimistic view, but one that might be a bit premature.
Electricity production is on the top of the list when it comes to carbon emissions, so solving that problem will go a long way to achieving the world’s climate goals.
The article presented data from thinktank Ember on global power sector CO2 emissions for the last 20 years. But looking at the data objectively, you can only conclude that the trend is promising yet inconclusive.
It is true that previous drops in 2009 (financial crisis) and 2020 (pandemic) were a byproduct of “shocks” to the system. But emissions also declined in 2015 and I don’t recall any particular event that could be cited as the root cause.
Whether the downward trend will continue is TBD. Nonetheless, significant progress is being made. In the first half of this year, carbon-free sources produced 40% of global electricity. Of that, solar and wind accounted for 14%.
The challenge moving forward is modernizing the grids around the world. Grids are becoming an increasing bottleneck to connecting addition clean energy. If the world doesn’t address that issue decisively, what will decline is our clean energy progress.