To successfully combat climate change
we must understand what mechanisms
are most effective in reducing CO2
emissions while maintaining economic
growth. Existing literature proposes
divergent estimates on this relationship.
Here, we study emission trends for 73
countries between 1970 and 2016 and
identify five mechanisms that reduced
CO2 emissions. We show that energy
system decarbonization and economic
productivity gains were the most effective
mitigation mechanisms during times of
growth. However, emission-reduction
trends in all observed countries fall short
of meeting net-zero targets by 2050.

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