Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Carbon emissions on track to rise this year

Carbon emissions on track to rise this year

Scientists have sounded the alarm after researchers warned unexpectedly that carbon dioxide emissions look set to hit record levels this year - at a time when they need to be reducing sharply.

The report said the global emissions of Carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industry were projected to rise by about 2% (with an uncertainty range of just between 0.8% and 3%) compared with the preceding year. According, Chinese emissions are projected to rise by 3.5% in 2016 as compared to a year ago with its GDP up by 6.8%.

The report, in fact, noted that there are 22 countries (representing 20% of global emissions) which recorded decline in their emissions during the last decade (2007-16) even as their economies grew. Such report will play an important role when countries take "Global Stocktake" under the Paris Agreement every five years.

Despite the noted increase in emissions due to the burning of fossil fuels, the United States' official position at the Bonn climate talks has been to support the use of fossil fuels as solutions to climate change.

The single biggest cause of the rise is an increase in emissions from China, already the world's biggest emitter, which had fallen slightly in recent years.

They say the growth in 2017 is mainly due to stronger emissions growth in China and other developing countries, and their findings show that the Paris goals could quickly slip out of reach.

Still, the report estimates that US carbon emissions will likely fall this year by 0.4 percent - despite the Trump administration's policies favoring fossil fuels over renewable energy. "It is far too early to proclaim that we have turned a corner and started the journey towards zero emissions".

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"Global commitments made in Paris in 2015 to reduce emissions are still not being matched by actions", said CICERO's Glen Peters. India will, however, report lesser emissions growth (2%) while the country is expected to record nearly same GDP growth (6.7%) during the period.

However, experts said that an already hugely ambitious target had been thrown further into doubt with the likely increase in Carbon dioxide emissions this year.

¨"The plateau of a year ago was not peak emissions after all", the Global Carbon Project, a group of 76 scientists in 15 countries, wrote of the findings.

The GCP expects India's emissions to rise by 2%, much lower than the 6% per year averaged over the previous decade, because of significant government interventions in the economy.

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.

But as the Trump administration continues to push fossil fuel use at home and overseas, the Global Carbon Budget's scientists warn that the world is running out of time to tackle climate change.

Professor Le Quéré said: "The Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement will occur every five years, and this puts huge pressure on the scientific community to develop methods and perform measurements that can truly verify changes in emissions within this five-yearly cycle".

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