The strong renewables growth also prompted coal-fired electricity generation to fall for the first time since 1973, according to the latest report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Global carbon dioxide emissions flatlined a year ago as governments across the world embarked on an ambitious energy transition, according to latest data from the International Energy Agency.
United Nations climate scientists say that global greenhouse emissions would need to fall by 7.6% every year between now and 2030 to stop temperatures rising to levels that will cause severe climate change in the coming decades.
"Across advanced economies, emissions from the power sector declined to levels last seen in the late 1980s, when electricity demand was one-third lower than today. It is evidence that clean energy transitions are underway - and it's also a signal that we have the opportunity to meaningfully move the needle on emissions through more ambitious policies and investments".
In the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2020 Reference case, which assumes no new laws and regulations, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions decrease through the early 2030s before increasing to 4.9 billion metric tons in 2050.
The fall was partly due to a 15 percent decline in coal usage during a year that saw natural gas prices plumb record lows.
Other factors helping to stem emissions growth a year ago included milder weather in several countries, as well as sluggish economic growth in some emerging markets, according to the IEA.
"We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth", Dr. Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA, said in a statement.
In Japan, emissions dropped by nearly 45 million tonnes, or around four per cent, representing the country's fastest pace of decline in over a decade thanks to output from recently restarted nuclear generators.
Electricity generation produced around 33 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide past year, defying forecasts that emissions from power would continue their upward trend.
Almost 80 percent of that increase came from Asia, despite slowing growth in major emitters China and India.
China's emissions rose at a slower pace than previously due slower economic growth and higher output from low-carbon sources of electricity such as nuclear and renewables. However, the continued growth in fossil-fuel demand in other sectors of the Indian economy, notably transport, offset the decline in the power sector. Asia accounted for about 80% of the rise from the developing world as coal demand remains robust, particularly in Southeast Asia.