Last year marked the first time in 40 years that there was zero increase in carbon emissions from energy providers over the previous year. According to The New York Times, efforts to counteract climate change and increase the use of renewable resources have allowed utility companies to stall the growth of carbon emissions.

"The numbers I announced are definitely encouraging, but it doesn't bring us to a happy ending yet," Fatih Birol, chief economist and incoming executive director for the International Energy Agency, told the Financial Times. "If you want to see a happy ending, you want to see an agreement in Paris that will send a powerful signal to investors to go in the direction of low-carbon technologies."

The agency released its annual estimates on carbon emissions for the world's energy providers, with Birol noting that the numbers are a sign of even greater hope that humanity will be able to overcome climate change. In the last 40 years that the IEA has collected data on carbon emissions, the only three times that emissions have stalled or reduced from the previous year were in times of major economic depression — the early '80s, 1992 and 2009. This marks the first time they've stalled during a time of economic growth.

A significant part of this effort is attributed to increased investments in utility-scale and residential solar panels. Continued growth in this sector is likely to continue stalling or reducing carbon emissions.

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Carbon Emissions