Global carbon emissions to rise 2% in 2017: scientists

A craftsman adds parts to the sculpture'Climate Tree during the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn Germany. Ronald Wittek  EPA

A craftsman adds parts to the sculpture'Climate Tree during the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn Germany. Ronald Wittek EPA

"Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again". This is a significant setback to efforts to slow the speed at which the Earth is warming, and shows the fragility of the global climate treaty, the Paris Agreement, scientists say.

Whether the increase in Carbon dioxide emissions this year is "just a blip that is followed by a falling trend, or is the start of a worrying upward trend, remains to be seen", says The Guardian.

Energy experts attributed the rise in China's emissions to a revival of carbon-intensive industries as the country's economy grew faster than expected, but added they expected the growth to be "transient".

These are continuing to rise as a effect of warming driven by ever higher greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, in response to the profligate global consumption of fossil fuels.

China's emissions, mainly though coal, account for 28 per cent of global emissions.

Researchers presented the information at COP23 in Bonn, Germany.

But as the Trump administration continues to push fossil fuel use at home and overseas, the Global Carbon Budget's scientists warn that the world is running out of time to tackle climate change.

Warning of a "giant leap backwards for humankind", the Global Carbon Project said in a report (pdf) released Monday that carbon emissions are expected to hit a record high in 2017, following three years of stable CO2 levels. "We need to reach a peak in global emissions in the next few years and drive emissions down rapidly afterwards to address climate change and limit its impacts", Le Quere said. "It is far too early to proclaim that we have turned a corner and started the journey towards zero emissions". Emissions were up two per cent in India which is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

Despite the noted increase in emissions due to the burning of fossil fuels, the United States' official position at the Bonn climate talks has been to support the use of fossil fuels as solutions to climate change.

Land-use change emissions in 2017, on other hand, would be very similar to that in 2016, the scientists wrote in Nature Climate Change journal.

In the U.S., emissions are projected to decline 0.4 per cent (minus 2.7 per cent to plus 1.9 per cent) in 2017, lower than the decline of 1.2 per cent per year averaged over the previous decade, with an unexpected rise in coal consumption (GDP up about 2.2 per cent in 2017). European emissions are expected to decline by.2 percent, which is also lower than the average decline of 2.2 percent per year. Emissions in the remaining countries, representing about 40% of the global total, are expected to increase by 2.3%. It estimates that 37 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide will be emitted from burning fossil fuels, the highest total so far.

"The plateau of previous year was not peak emissions after all", the Global Carbon Project - a group of 76 scientists in 15 countries - wrote of the findings.

Professor Le Quéré said: "The Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement will 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".

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