Carbon emissions on track to rise this year

14 November, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Carbon emissions on track to rise this year

Global carbon emissions are on the rise again in 2017 after three years of little-to-no growth, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project.

Carbon emissions had been roughly flat from 2014-16, but will increase this year mainly due to a rise in China after a two-year decline, the scientists said.

The 12th annual report is produced by 76 of the world's leading emissions experts from 57 research institutions and estimates that global carbon emissions from fossil fuels will have risen by 2 per cent by the end of 2017 - a significant rise, reports the Guardian.

Pep Canadell, a geoscientist at Australia's CSIRO and head of the Global Carbon Project that produces the carbon budget report each year, says that the findings are disappointing.

As the world's biggest emitter China's projected 3.5% increase is a big contributor to the global trend.

"Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again ..."

In that context, the Budget report noted that emissions of 101 countries, representing 50% of global emissions, increased in the presence of growing GDP.

"The 2015/2016 El Niño caused hot and dry conditions in the tropics that reduced the uptake of carbon by forests and led to a record rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations", said Professor Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia, UK, who led the main analysis.

Australia has committed to reducing emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

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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.

Dr Canadell is also concerned that Australia is running out of time to reverse the emissions trajectory.

The research comes as negotiators at United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, work on a rulebook for implementing the Paris climate agreement.

The US and European Union are however expected to see a decline of 0.4% and 0.2% - but they are smaller declines than during the previous decade.

"With global Carbon dioxide emissions from human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below 2ºC let alone 1.5ºC". One bright spot was a large drop in the growth rate of India's emissions (from 6% a year to 2%), though it is most likely temporary.

It estimates that 37 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide will be emitted from burning fossil fuels, the highest total so far.

The new analysis was based on the available energy use data for 2017 and projections for the latter part of the year.

The news arrives as hundreds of countries enter the second week of the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, where leaders will discuss how to implement the standards set during the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

"Policy makers in Bonn are preparing for the Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement, that will start in 2018 and occur every five years, and this puts enormous pressure on the scientific community to develop methods and perform measurements that can truly verify changes in emissions within this five-yearly cycle", Prof Le Quere added.

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