Economy

Carbon dioxide emissions still rising, but it's not all doom and gloom

Carbon dioxide emissions still rising, but it's not all doom and gloom

Global carbon emissions in 2017 are expected to be around 2% higher than previous year, hitting a new, unwanted record high.

That was the key finding of analysis by the Global Carbon Project, published across three journal papers on Monday.

"The slowdown in emissions growth from 2014 to 2016 was always a delicate balance, and the likely 2% increase in 2017 clearly demonstrates that we can't take the recent slowdown for granted", said Robbie Andrew, a senior researcher at Cicero in Oslo and co-author of the studies.

A lot of the emissions from specific countries are linked to their economic activity, and therefore, an uptick in countries' gross domestic product growth could lead to a spurt in their Carbon dioxide emissions too.

Trump plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

This year's rebound in emissions suggests that it's too soon to celebrate.

The report authors noted large uncertainties in the data persist and the true growth figure may be anywhere between 1 and 3%. Together, they forecast that global fossil fuel emissions will reach a record 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2017, with total emissions reaching a record 41 billion tons, including deforestation. The years from 2014 to 2016, by contrast, had seen little-to-no growth in Carbon dioxide emissions, making the 2017 projections particularly worrisome. And while emissions are projected to grow this year, Victor says that China is still on a trajectory that would see its emissions peak well before its 2030 target.

More news: TPP deal moves forward without US

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.

"Chinese energy statistics have been plagued by many inconsistencies, particularly when projecting emissions for the current year", said Korsbakken. Local governments invested heavily in infrastructure and construction projects to stimulate growth, while unfavorable rainfall patterns have reduced output from the nation's hydropower dams, said Lauri Myllyvirta, who analyzes China's energy trends for Greenpeace. "In many regions that has meant rolling back on the restructuring of the economy and an uptick in smokestack industry output". It's been hungrier for coal, oil and natural gas, due to increases in industrial production and economic growth.

Worldwide "we are probably in the level-to-upwards direction for emissions in the next years rather than level or downwards", Peters said, because of stronger global gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The country's emissions are predicted to have risen by 3.5 percent this year compared to 2016.

Carbon dioxide emissions in Europe and the United States, on the other hand, are on track to be lower in 2017 than in the previous year, down by 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

India, meanwhile, posted its smallest annual emissions increase since 2000. Although India's emissions are projected to grow by just 2 percent this year - a dramatic shift from over 8 percent per year during the last decade - they could easily bump up rapidly if that country's economy recovers from a recent downturn.

Climate Home News' reporting at Cop23 is supported in part by the European Climate Foundation.


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