Global carbon emissions to rise 2% in 2017: scientists

Carbon dioxide emissions have started rising again after a three year pause

Carbon dioxide emissions have started rising again after a three year pause. Miguel Navarr Getty Images

"Even though we project carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry to increase 2% in 2017, large uncertainties persist, and growth [rates] between 1% and 3% are distinct possibilities given difficulties in making projections".

"After having more or less no growth for three years, the global Carbon dioxide emission is expected to pop up in 2017 by about 2 per cent to a record high".

Global carbon dioxide emissions are on track to rise slightly this year after three years of staying flat, new research shows.

"The slowdown in emissions growth from 2014 to 2016 was always a delicate balance, and the likely 2 percent increase in 2017 clearly demonstrates that we can't take the recent slowdown for granted", Robbie Andrew, a co-author of the study and a senior researcher at Norway's CICERO Center for International Climate Research, said in a statement.

The report gave credit to India for its "significant government interventions in the economy" that helped it record emission rise of only 2% in 2017. China had decreased its emissions two years in row prior to 2017, but coal use may rise by 3 percent as a result of increased industrial production and lower hydro-power generation due to less rainfall.

'Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three year stable period, ' said lead researcher Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

"By continuing to cause this inexorable rise in Carbon dioxide we are pushing the climate closer and closer to the edge of our comfort zone", said Professor Richard Betts, of the University of Exeter and the Met Office Hadley Centre.

The United States' and European Union's emissions are projected to decline only by 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. "This is a window into the future", Le Quéré said.

Global CO2 emissions from all human activities are set to reach 41 billion tonnes (41 Gt CO2) by the end of 2017.

China's emissions are projected to grow by 3.5% (0.7% to 5.4%), driven by a rise in coal consumption (GDP up 6.8%).

However, there is one good news and that is renewable energy has increased rapidly at 14% per year over the last five 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.

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

"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 vast pressure on the scientific community to develop methods and perform measurements that can truly verify changes in emissions within this five-yearly cycle", said Prof Le Quéré.

They said, "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".

"To meet Paris we'd need to cut [emissions by] 18 to 20 per cent compared to current levels - which equals a 1.5 to 1.7 per cent reduction per year", Professor Jotzo said.

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