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Carbon emissions 'to stall or even decline' this year

Data suggests global emissions of carbon dioxide are likely to stall and even decline slightly this year, the BBC has reported.

Researchers say it is the first time this has happened while the global economy has continued to grow.

The fall-off is due to reduced coal use in China, as well as faster uptake of renewables, the scientists involved in the assessment add.

But they expect the stall to be temporary and for emissions to grow again as emerging economies develop.

According to the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change and presented here at COP21 in Paris, emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industry are likely to have fallen 0.6% in 2015.

They increased by around the same amount in 2014.

Since 2000, global emissions have grown annually by 2-3%. The slowdown has occurred while the global economy has grown by 3% in both 2014 and 2015.

China continued to be the world leader in emissions, according to the report, responsible for 27% of the global total. With its economy slowing, coal use has declined just as concerns have grown over air pollution issues in urban areas. There has also been a rapid take-up in renewables.

India was the fourth largest emitter overall in in 2014, with its emissions now matching those of China’s in 1990.

India’s growth in 2014 was offset by a similar decline in the European Union, which experienced an unusually warm winter combined with a sustained long-term decline in carbon output.

But the rapid growth in Indian emissions is causing some concern for researchers.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The scientists involved believe that while the slowdown in emissions is welcome, albeit temporary, it could be a snapshot of the future if a deal can be done in Paris.

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