20090115 generating station co2 84005010 18
The Department of Water and Power (DWP) San Fernando Valley Generating Station in Sun Valley, Calif. - 


Bill Radke: The recession may be benefiting the environment. The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions have fallen sharply this year, mostly because of the downturn. From the European Desk in London, Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: The IEA says the decline in CO2 emissions this year has been the steepest for almost half century. Most of the plunge is due to falling factory output. Delays in building new coal-fired power stations have also played a part.

Robin Webster is a climate change campaigner with Friends of the Earth. She welcomes the sharp drop in emissions -- with one caveat:

Robin Webster: The concern could be that once the recession is over, once we start to see economics pick up again, then we're going to see emissions going up again. We don't want to create a false sense of complacency. You know, we really need to set in place some long-term plans to reduce our emissions.

The IEA says that for the first time, government moves to curb emissions in Europe, the U.S. and China are taking effect. They account for 25 percent of the fall in CO2.

The pressure to make deeper cuts is mounting. Tomorrow world leaders gather in New York to talk about climate change.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.