CO2 emissions set to rise after period of stability, according to research

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

The US is expected to see a slower decline in its carbon emissions, from an annual 1.2% drop over the past 10 years to a decrease of 0.4% this year, with a return to growth in coal use, as president Donald Trump promised to rescue the coal industry.

The world's rate of carbon emissions is rising again after staying steady for three years, according to a comprehensive study released today.

"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.

"Every year that goes by without an emissions peak", Mr. Peters said, makes the job of cutting greenhouse gases quickly enough to stabilize global warming this century "that much harder".

"With global Carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities estimated at 41 billion (metric tonnes) for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below two degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees Celsius", she said in a statement.

These startling facts came to light in the 2017 Global Carbon Budget was published by the Global Carbon Project in journals Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters and Earth System Science Data Discussions. "This is very disappointing", said Corrine Le Quéré, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, who was also present at the press conference.

Total carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities, which includes fossil fuels, industry, and land-use change, will reach around 41 billion tons in 2017, while emissions from fossil fuels alone will reach around 37 billion tons.

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"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".

"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", he concluded. "As [gross domestic product] rises, we produce more goods, which, by design, produces more emissions".

The findings were reported in the 12th annual Global Carbon Budget report, which is produced by 76 of the world's leading emissions experts from 57 research institutions.

The research also says that coal use in China and the U.S. are expected to increase this year. While dozens of nations, including the United States, have been reducing their emissions in recent years, those declines have so far been offset by rising pollution from developing countries.

Carbon dioxide emissions in Europe and the U.S., on the other hand, are on track to be lower in 2017 than in the previous year, down by 0.2%and 0.4% respectively. They grew 1.9 per cent in the rest of world.

"As each year ticks by, the chances of avoiding 2 C of warming continue to diminish", said co-author Glen Peters, research director at Center for International Climate Research in Oslo, Norway.

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