Low growth in global carbon emissions continues for third successive year

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Credit: NASA

Global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project.

The projected rise of only 0.2% for 2016 marks a clear break from the rapid growth of 2.3% per year in the decade to 2013, with just 0.7 per cent growth seen in 2014.

The new data is published in the journal Earth System Science Data. It shows emissions growth remained below 1 per cent despite GDP growth exceeding 3 per cent.

Decreased use of coal in China is the main reason behind the 3-year slowdown.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, Director of the Tyndall Centre at UEA who led the data analysis, said: "This third year of almost no growth in emissions is unprecedented at a time of strong economic growth. This is a great help for tackling but it is not enough. Global emissions now need to decrease rapidly, not just stop growing."

China - the biggest emitter of CO2 at 29 per cent - saw emissions decrease by 0.7 per cent in 2015, compared to growth of more than 5 percent per year the previous decade. A further reduction of 0.5 per cent is projected for 2016, though with large uncertainties.

The USA, the second biggest emitter of CO2 at 15 per cent, also reduced its coal use while increasing its oil and gas consumption and saw emissions decrease 2.6 per cent last year. USA emissions are projected to decrease by 1.7 per cent in 2016.

The EU's 28 member states are the third largest emitter causing 10 per cent of emissions. The EU's CO2 emissions went up 1.4 percent in 2015, in contrast with longer term decreases.

India contributed 6.3 per cent of all global CO2 emissions, with their emissions increasing 5.2 percent, in 2015 continuing a period of strong growth.

Although the break in emissions rise ties in with the pledges by countries to decrease emissions until 2030, it falls short of the reductions needed to limit climate change well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Prof Le Quéré said: "If climate negotiators in Marrakesh can build momentum for further cuts in emissions, we could be making a serious start to addressing climate change."

The Global Carbon Budget analysis also shows that, in spite of a lack of growth in emissions, the growth in atmospheric CO2 concentration was a record-high in 2015, and could be a record again in 2016 due to weak carbon sinks.

Prof Le Quéré said: "Part of the CO2 emissions are absorbed by the ocean and by trees. With temperatures soaring in 2015 and 2016, less CO2 was absorbed by trees because of the hot and dry conditions related to the El Niño event. Atmospheric CO2 levels have exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) and will continue to rise and cause the planet to warm until emissions are cut down to near zero."

The Global Carbon Project's estimation of global CO2 emissions and their fate in the atmosphere, land and ocean is a major effort by the research community to bring together measurements, statistics on human activities, with analysis of model results.

Prof Le Quéré stressed the need for reporting such as the Global Carbon Budget to inform decisions and actions on how to respond to climate change.

Dr Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Norway, who co-authored the analysis, said: "Emissions in the next few years will depend on whether energy and climate policies can lock in the new trends, and importantly, raise the ambition of emission pledges to be more consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement."


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Citation: Low growth in global carbon emissions continues for third successive year (2016, November 14) retrieved 23 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-11-growth-global-carbon-emissions-successive.html
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Nov 14, 2016
Hardly global-warming-denier Trump is elected, scientists tell us, that the situation is not so bad at all. Now the bad ones are not China and USA, but Europe.

Nov 14, 2016
Carbon's got damn little to do with it.

http://realclimat...-months/

Over the last eight months, global temperatures over land have cooled a record 1.2 C. November is seeing record cold in Russia and South Australia, so we should see the record cooling trend continue.

Nov 15, 2016
Carbon's got damn little to do with it.

http://realclimat...-months/

Over the last eight months, global temperatures over land have cooled a record 1.2 C. November is seeing record cold in Russia and South Australia, so we should see the record cooling trend continue.

Actually, human caused climate chaos will cause some places to be cooler, some warmer, some wetter some drier, and it's the entire Earth's temperature that's important, over several years, not just over land for a few months.

Nov 15, 2016
Hardly global-warming-denier Trump is elected, scientists tell us, that the situation is not so bad at all. Now the bad ones are not China and USA, but Europe.


The situation can get a lot worse if Trump follows through with his promises. The US is on track to be the worst influence on the planet.

Nov 15, 2016
Carbon's got damn little to do with it.

http://realclimat...-months/


How dishonest is this? Tony Heller is not unintelligent, he knows that eight months is not a trend, temperatures are cooling following El Nino, and one data set of lower tropospheric land temperatures says very little about global surface temperatures.

Here are a few more lower tropospheric temperature graphs

http://www.woodfo...75/trend
http://www.woodfo...75/trend
http://www.woodfo...75/trend

Oh and by the way Shootist it's considered polite to use quote marks to make it clear when your quoting somebody verbatim. You wouldn't want to piss Tony Heller/Steve Goddard off would you.

Nov 20, 2016
Carbon's got damn little to do with it.


Actually, human caused climate chaos will cause some places to be cooler, some warmer, some wetter some drier


Yes, that's the whole point. The entire AGW hypothesis is pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo with no predictive power at all. Or had you missed the idea that science is accepted or rejected based solely on its predictive ability?

This ongoing "well sometimes it's cold, sometimes warm, sometimes wet, sometimes dry" nonsense is laughable. It defies reason you might try to defend it in any way.

You say "human caused", then blythy ascribe every aspect of weather imaginable to that cause, with no ability to distinguish. Everything in your book is caused by humans, therefore you're right all the time? What a joke. Why not blame the Devil? Hemorrhoids? Bad gas?

Nov 20, 2016
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