Decoupling Belied

In 2014, the International Energy Agency reported that global greenhouse gas emissions had stalled, despite positive economic growth. Proponents of “doing something” about climate change seized on this announcement to claim that economic growth had become “decoupled” from increasing greenhouse gas emissions. If true, it suggested that climate change mitigation could be achieved without harming economic growth.

It turns out it wasn’t true. According to an exclusive Reuters report this week, China’s emissions were almost certainly underestimated, and, when more accurate data is used, global emissions actually increased in 2014, in lockstep with economic growth.