CO2 emissions up 2.7%, world 'off course' to curb warming: study

December 5, 2018 by Marlowe Hood
Coal-fired power stations such as this one in China are contributing to CO2 pollution

Global emissions of carbon dioxide mainly from fossil fuel burning will rise 2.7 percent in 2018, scientists said Wednesday, signalling a world "completely off course" in the fight against climate change.

Last year, CO2 pollution increased by 1.6 percent after a three-year hiatus that raised hopes manmade had finally peaked despite an expanding world economy.

"This growth in global CO2 emissions puts the goals set out in the Paris Agreement in jeopardy," lead author Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre of Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, said in a statement.

"It is not enough to support renewables," she added. "Efforts to decarbonise need to be expanded throughout the economy."

The findings, co-authored by a team of nearly 80 scientists, were published in the journal Open Access Earth System Science Data.

Rapid deployment of solar and , along with gains in , have been outpaced by growth in demand for freight, personal transport, shipping, and aviation, the research showed.

The 2015 Paris treaty calls for capping at "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), a goal that scientists say could soon slip out of our grasp if planet-warming continues to climb.

Even a 2C ceiling above pre-industrial levels may not be enough to avoid catastrophic impacts, the UN's climate science panel concluded in a landmark report in October.

The world's top 10 carbon polluters in 2017 and how positions have changed since 1959.
Coal use in China

A single degree of warming to date has seen a rise in deadly heatwaves, droughts, floods, and superstorms made worse by rising seas.

"Emissions will continue to rise, rhetoric is increasing but ambition is not—we are completely off course," said co-author Glen Peters, research director at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.

"While there has been positive progress on clean energy and electric vehicles, this is currently too small to impact the onward march of fossil fuels."

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that CO2 emissions must drop 50 percent by 2030—and reach "net zero", with no additional leakage into the atmosphere—by 2050 if the rise in Earth's temperature is to be checked at the safer limit of 1.5C.

The uncertainty range for the 2.7 percent increase is 1.8 to 3.7 percent.

Fluctuations in global emissions over the last five or six years have tracked changes in coal consumption, the study revealed.

In particular, "the trends have a lot to do with the ups and downs of coal use in China," Le Quere told journalists in Paris.

Fluctuations in global emissions over the last five or six years have tracked changes in coal consumption

Globally, coal-fired power accounts for 40 percent of CO2 emissions, and more than two-fifths of the world's electricity.

Oil and gas use have grown almost unabated over the last decade.

China's emissions accounted for 27 percent of the global total, and will likely show growth of 4.7 percent in 2018.

Smell the coffee

Coal is likely to dominate the Chinese energy system for decades, even if the skyrocketing growth of the mid-2000s is unlikely to return, the researchers said.

The United States will account for 15 percent of CO2 pollution in 2018, an increase of about 2.5 percent. Most of that growth can be traced to an exceptionally hot summer and cold winter.

Despite attempts by Donald Trump to revive a moribund domestic coal industry, US emissions are expected to resume their downward trend in 2019 as cheap gas, wind and solar power continue to displace coal.

India's emissions, seven percent of the total, continued their upward spiral, increasing more than six percent, with growth across all three major fossil fuels.

Annual carbon emissions in gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent

The European Union is set to see a small decline in 2018, and will account for about a tenth of the total.

Some scientists expressed frustration with the pace of change.

"Set against a background of collective delusions, partial accounting and just plain lies, emissions will continue to rise," said Kevin Anderson, a professor of energy and at the University of Manchester.

"It's time to grow up and smell the coffee."

Mohamed Adow, international climate lead for Christian Aid, said poor people in developing countries most exposed to climate hazards simply cannot wait.

"If this is the most important issue of our time, as leaders repeatedly say, then why aren't they acting accordingly—and showing up for the climate talks?", he said.

Nearly 200 nations are huddled at UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland until December 14.

Explore further: Strong growth in global CO2 emissions expected for 2018

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julianpenrod
1 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2018
It should still be remembered that, only a few weeks ago, it was mentioned widely that a "peer reviewed" paper in "Nature" magazine turned out not to be telling the truth. It predicted that the temperature of the world's oceans was much, much higher than predicted. Actually, that was untrue.
In fact, it's been revealed that up to 90% of all "peer reviewed" papers in "scientific" journals make predictions that are irreproducible. And it seems likely, if not definite, that at least some of those will have been about "climate change"! And what if those articles in error are used as the basis for other articles which contain error? The warnings and insistances that so many swear by likely come from articles that are wrong all the way through.
guptm
not rated yet Dec 05, 2018
To make sure research carries the truth, IPCC uses confidence levels (one can see in any ipcc report). They use studies from many decades, by different authors at different times at different geographic locations. Most probable results indicate that global warming has severe impact on environment and humans.

Predictions and projections are always questionable and are often incorrect, but trends are not incorrect. These trends are deduced from direct observations assimilated by tons of satellite data across the globe.

I myself had questions on it, but when I worked on the data and models myself, I came to know the reality, which is that climate has already warmed and we are currently going through it.

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