Emissions grow unevenly over the business cycle
Economic growth has lifted living standards for billions of people. But that growth has coincided with rapid expansion in carbon emissions, at least during the early stages of industrialisation and economic development.
Conversely, one of the few silver linings of economic contractions is slower growth in emissions.
The following chart tracks global business cycles going back to the 1850s and graphs their estimated CO2 emissions. During a typical expansion (which lasts an average of 3.5 years in this period), emissions increased more than 12%. During a typical recession (about 1.5 years long on average since 1854), emissions increased by about 2.3% -- a much slower pace even when adjusted for the shorter time frame.