Global fossil fuel emissions rising again

The jammed streets of London at rush hour reveal a poor way of organising society

While carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel and industry in China are expected to rise about 3.5 per cent, after about two years of economic slowdown, India's contribution to the atmospheric build-up would go up by almost 2 per cent, the researchers have found.

They're pointing to China's activities as the main cause - Carbon dioxide emissions there are projected to grow by around 3.5 percent.

"This year, we have seen how climate change can amplify the impact of hurricanes with stronger downpours of rain, higher sea levels and warmer ocean conditions favouring more powerful storms".

But researchers predicted yesterday that Carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 would jump by 2 per cent to an all-time high of 41 billion tonnes after the United States and China burned significantly more coal after three years of using less.

"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. "This is a window into the future", Le Quéré said.

Blaming China for the spike in emissions, co-author Glen Peters, research director at CICERO in Oslo, who led one of the studies, said: "The return to growth in global emissions in 2017 is largely due to a return to growth in Chinese emissions, projected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2017 after two years with declining emissions".

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.

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"Several factors point to a continued rise in 2018", warned Robert Jackson, another co-author of the report, co-chair of Global Carbon Project and a professor in earth systems science at Stanford University.

After remaining flat for three years, experts had hoped that greenhouse gas emissions had peaked and would soon begin to fall.

"Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three-year stable period".

The good news, according to environmental economist Frank Jotzo of the Australian National University, is that economic activity on average produces less carbon emissions than it used to. This is a significant setback to efforts to slow the speed at which the Earth is warming, and shows the fragility of the worldwide climate treaty, the Paris Agreement, scientists say. 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.

China, the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, drove the unexpected and rapid growth of emissions in the 2000's and was behind the unexpected recent slowdown.

The report is scary, said British charity Christian Aid's International Climate Lead, Mohamed Adow.

Their data - presented during negotiations among nearly 200 nations in Germany about details of the 2015 Paris Agreement climate accord - are a setback to a global goal of curbing emissions to avert more downpours, heat waves, and rising sea levels. "Coal needs to be rapidly phased out of the global energy mix, while renewables must be ramped up far quicker", he added.

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