Emissions Data for Davos
The World Economic Forum convened in Davos, Switzerland, last week and climate change is once again at the top of the agenda. At the annual meeting, world leaders and billionaires devise macro-economic and environmental policies they would like to enact across the global economy.
This year, the forum is “devoting 15 sessions of its 2017 annual meeting to climate change, and nine more to clean energy — the most ever on the issues,” according to Bloomberg.
The Climate Project of the World Economic Forum promises to use its global platform and convening power to spur action on climate policies around the world. The official website states, “The goal of the Climate Project is to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and related 2030 sustainable development agenda.”
But when it comes to the environment and clean energy solutions, even the smartest people in the room overlook what’s happening already. Rather than coming up with new business models, perhaps the experts should take a closer look at entrepreneurialism and free markets in the United States, since those forces are driving the most significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Since 1990, for example, methane emissions from oil and natural gas production have declined by 21 percent while natural gas production has soared 47 percent.
When it comes to carbon reduction, as the following charts indicate, the United States is the global leader. We surpass European economies like Italy, Great Britain, Spain, France and Germany that have supposedly better climate change policies imposed through European Union directives.
This didn’t occur because of international treaties like the Paris Agreement or government mandates. It was the result of technological innovation in the private sector, which dramatically increase the amount of natural gas available for use in generation of electricity. Energy Information Administration data show increased use of natural gas has delivered more greenhouse gas reduction than wind and solar combined, over the several years.