In the European Union (including the UK), emissions declined by 160Mt in 2019, a 5% drop that was driven by increases in renewables, as wind power nearly caught up with coal generation.
Late previous year, worldwide climate experts warned that global temperatures could rise sharply this century with "wide-ranging and destructive" consequences after greenhouse gas emissions hit record levels in 2018.
Emissions from the power industry in advanced economies fell to levels last seen in the late 1980s, when electricity demand was one third lower than today, the IEA said.
Other scenarios included in AEO2020 demonstrate the sensitivity of USA energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions projections to assumptions regarding variables such as economic activity, oil prices, renewable energy technology costs, and oil and natural gas resource estimates. The US recorded the largest emissions decline of any individual country, dropping by 140 million tonnes.
Other factors helping to stem emissions growth past year included milder weather in several countries, as well as sluggish economic growth in some emerging markets, according to the IEA. But Birol warned that we need to work to make sure that 2019 is "remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth".
Emissions fell sharply in some advanced economies, including the US and the European Union, offsetting increases in developing countries and emerging markets, the IEA said.
Electricity generation produced around 33 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide past year, defying forecasts that emissions from power would continue their upward trend.
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. Coal-fired power generation in advanced economies declined by almost 15% as a result of growth in renewables, coal-to-gas switching, a rise in nuclear power and weaker electricity demand.
Almost 80 percent of that increase came from Asia, despite slowing growth in major emitters China and India.
China's emissions rose, but were tempered by slowing economic growth and gains in renewable energy and nuclear power. However, the continued growth in fossil-fuel demand in other sectors of the Indian economy, notably transport, offset the decline in the power sector. Fuel sources switching from coal to natural gas as well as rising nuclear power generation also played a key role in curbing emissions, it said.