Dominion Energy sets new goal of net zero emissions by 2050

Katie Ramirez
February 14, 2020

Global carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector plateaued in 2019, defying widespread expectations that they would continue to rise, according to a February 11 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Despite the continued implementation of President Trump's policy agenda, which has been repeatedly and widely criticised by green groups across the world, the United States recorded the largest emissions decline on a country basis between 2018 and 2019.

"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", said Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director.

Global Carbon Budget, released at the United Nations climate summit (COP25) in Madrid on December 4, 2019, showed Turkey ranking 15th in carbon emissions in 2018 with about 430 million tons of CO2.

It follows UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement last week that his government plans to bring forward the planned phase-out date for coal-fired power by a year to 2024, amid latest data showing UK greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.1 per cent in 2018. It also noted that over the last 20 years, USA emissions have decreased almost one gigaton (1 billion metric tons).

Japan's emissions fell by 45 million tonnes, or around 4%, the fastest pace of decline since 2009, as output from recently restarted nuclear reactors increased.

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The report also details that the decreasing emissions had mostly occurred because of so-called "advanced economies". Increased transportation and industrial sector activity leads to increased petroleum and natural gas consumption, while residential and commercial energy sector emissions remain relatively flat throughout the projection period.

The immediate aim will be to focus on concrete actions to reverse the growth in carbon emissions this decade, focusing on all the fuels and existing technologies that can help achieve that goal in a hurry.

"We commend Dominion for setting a net-zero target that covers both the electricity and natural gas sides of its business", said Lila Holzman, Energy Program Manager of As You Sow. By 2050, carbon dioxide emissions in the High Economic Growth case are 13 percent higher than in the Reference case and 9 percent higher than 2019 levels.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded on Twitter, "FACT you will NEVER see on the 6 o'clock news: USA emissions FELL 2.9%, or by 140 million tons, continuing the trend of the United States LEADING THE WORLD IN TOTAL EMISSIONS DECLINE since 2000". This calls for a grand coalition that brings together all the stakeholders that have a genuine commitment to reducing emissions - governments, industry, financial institutions, worldwide organizations and civil society.

The report credited "a 15% reduction in the use of coal for power generation" as a key factor in the decline of overall emissions in the country, noting that coal-fired power plants faced strong competition from natural gas-fired generation in 2019.

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