Carbon emissions back on the rise

Ivan Schwartz
November 14, 2017

Global CO2 emissions are forecast to rise by 2 per cent in 2017, after a three- year period in which they remained flat, British researchers say.

But the publication by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) of its annual analysis of trends in the global carbon cycle, the authors say, highlights how precarious the recent slowdown in global emissions growth really is.

"With global carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities estimated at 41 billion tons for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius let alone 1.5 degrees Celsius", said Le Quéré.

U.S. emissions are projected to decline by 0.4% this year, more slowly than the decline of 1.2% per year averaged over the last decade because of a return to growth in coal use.

India's emissions are expected to grow at a relatively lesser pace than in the previous decade.

Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, who led the Global Carbon Project's study, called the findings "very disappointing".

The researchers said there are uncertainties in our ability to estimate emissions changes - Glen Peters of the CICERO Center for International Climate Research and lead author on a study said it could take up to 10 years to independently verify a change in emissions based on measurements of Carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations.

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"Chinese energy statistics have been plagued by many inconsistencies, particularly when projecting emissions for the current year", said Korsbakken. "This is a window into the future".

The world's carbon emissions are expected to show a lurch upwards this year, by around 2%, after three years of staying virtually level.

The carbon budget report, referring to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics, also flagged that all the nations collectively during the year would see GDP rise of 3.6% as compared to previous year. Meanwhile emissions from fossil fuels are set to reach 37 Gt CO2 - a record high. The US emissions are projected to decline by 0.4% this year when its GDP will grow by about 2.2%.

European Union emissions are tentatively projected to decline -0.2% (-2% to +1.6%), a smaller decline than the previous decade (GDP up 2.3%).

Continuing the streak of sad news, atmospheric Carbon dioxide concentration reached 403 parts per million in 2016, and is expected to increase by 2.5 parts per million in 2017. This stable period, following a growth in emissions of more than 3% annually in the 2000s, fed hopes that many countries were succeeding in separating successful economy-building from increases in world temperatures.

Worldwide "we are probably in the level-to-upwards direction for emissions in the next years rather than level or downwards", Peters said, because of stronger global gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Technologies-including wind and solar power-have surged about 14 percent each year in the last five years, though the starting point was low.

China's emissions added up to 28 percent of global emissions, which is expected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2017. In June he withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, under which every other nation in the world has now agreed to limit climate change-causing pollution.

Other reports by GizPress

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