Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Carbon emissions up, 'time is running out,' warn scientists

Carbon emissions up, 'time is running out,' warn scientists

The GCP has released three papers in the journals Nature Climate Change (verification), Environmental Research Letters (recent trends), and Earth System Science Data Discussions (the full carbon cycle). "This is very disappointing".

"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 below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), let alone 1.5 C". This is a window into the future.

"Human-induced warming has accelerated over the past few years despite the slowdown in carbon dioxide emissions because of other drivers of climate change, notably methane", said Myles Allen, a professor at the University of Oxford, commenting on the findings.

Yang Fuqiang, senior adviser for the NRDC China Program, said the eventual carbon emissions of 2017 could be lower than forecast, as authorities have put on a large-scale production curb on industries such as steel and cement to combat air pollution during winter months.

"Global carbon dioxide emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three-year stable period". Robert Jackson, however, noted that there were several factors which point to a continued rise in 2018. "That's a real concern".

The GCP, a collaboration between worldwide science organisations, aims to monitor global carbon emissions and their sources in order to help "slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere". "We do not know if the increase in emissions in 2017 is a one-off, or represents changes leading to more sustained upward pressure on emissions in the years ahead". In the United States, fossil-fuel emissions are projected to fall by approximately 0.4 percent this year, compared to an average decline of 1.2 percent per year over the past decade. It is more likely that emissions will plateau or have slight positive growth, broadly in line with national emission pledges submitted to the Paris Agreement.

After being flat for three years, global carbon emissions from human activities are slated to grow 2 per cent to 41 billion tonnes this year.

But, after a brief dip last year, China's emissions are projected to rise approximately 3.5 percent this year.

But even if fulfilled, those promissory notes are not enough to keep Earth in the safe zone, and would still see global temperatures rise a devastating 3 C (5.6 F) by the end of the century. India will, however, report lesser emissions growth (2%) while the country is expected to record nearly same GDP growth (6.7%) during the period.

United States emissions were set to decline by 0.4% this year, a smaller fall than in recent years, reflecting a rise in the burning of coal.

The Global Carbon Budget is produced by 76 scientists from 57 research institutions in 15 countries working under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project (GCP).

Every nation in the world has signed into the agreement.

The jump in carbon emissions that drive global warming is a "giant leap backwards for humankind", according to Amy Luers, executive director of Future Earth, a global research initiative.

Solar and wind energy have grown 14 percent annually since 2012, but still only account for a tiny fraction - less than four percent - of global energy consumption. "That transition is being driven by the low cost of new renewable infrastructure, and it's being driven by new consumer preferences". "Emissions need to peak soon and approach zero by 2050".

"When there are unexpected changes in carbon dioxide emissions or atmospheric concentrations, there are questions raised about our ability to independently verify reported emissions", Peters said.

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.

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