One of the potentially best pieces of news of 2015 came in just before its closing. While all eyes were directed toward Paris the Global Carbon Budget projection for 2015 was announced (Le Quere et al. 2015). It included the uplifting news that total annual emissions in 2015, for only the second time since the turn of the century, were project to decrease.
What is even more notable is that globaL economic activity, measured as the global gross domestic product, was projected to increase per capita from 2014 (IMF World Economic Outlook).
Taken together, these two trends raise several questions.
(1) What caused the 2015 dip and was 2014 the peak of global CO2 emissions?
(2) Is the concurrent increase in global GDP a sign of absolute decoupling between economic activity, material use and environmental quality?
(3) Will trends in both variables continue into the future?