Global emissions set to rise in 2017 after three years, scientists warn


This is the first time emissions of greenhouse gases have risen after remaining relatively stable for the last three years, according to the "2017 Carbon Budget", which was presented at the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany.

The group, which helped organize three research groups in concert to come to the conclusions, attributed the carbon growth - likely to be 2 percent year-over-year - to increasing emissions in China and developing nations from burning fossil fuels, aligning with economic growth.

"China generates almost 30% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and the ups and downs of the Chinese economy leave a signature on global emissions growth", said Jan Ivar Korsbakken, senior researcher at Cicero and co-author.

"With global Carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below two degrees Celsius let alone 1.5 degrees". "As [gross domestic product] rises, we produce more goods, which, by design, produces more emissions". Rising carbon dioxide emissions are generally associated with a rising GDP, but the report noted that 22 countries lowered their emissions while their economics grew as well. 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.

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European emissions are tentatively expected to decline by 0.2% (-2% to +1.6%) in 2017, lower than the decline of 2.2% per year averaged over the previous decade (GDP up about 2.3%).

Both Yang and Myllyvirta expect coal consumption for 2018 to go back into decline, and carbon emissions to correspondingly slow or level off next year.

USA emissions are expected to decline by.4 percent, compared to a typical decline in the country of about 1.2 percent per year.

The Global Carbon Budget report, produced by a team of 77 scientists from 57 organisations around the world, brings together the most accurate information available each year about humanity's carbon output.

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Future Earth's executive director Amy Luers said, "This year's carbon budget news is a step back for humankind". This means prioritising providing access to clean reliable energy to the hundreds of millions of people across the world without access to what many of us take for granted every day - electricity. Technologies-including wind and solar power-have surged about 14 percent each year in the last five years, though the starting point was low. But President Trump said in June that he would pull the United States out of the pact as soon as he can, which is 2020.

"Chinese energy statistics have been plagued by many inconsistencies, particularly when projecting emissions for the current year", said Korsbakken.

"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.

"Having achieved the success of a global agreement to tackle climate change in Paris two years ago, these findings show that we need more than warm words in conference halls to tackle a warming world".

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