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Carbon emissions back on the rise

Carbon emissions back on the rise

It looks like carbon dioxide emissions for 2017 will reach 40.8 billion tons after having stabilized at about 40 billion tons in each of the last three years, report scientists.

While carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel and industry in China are expected to rise about 3.5 per cent, after about two years of economic slowdown, India's contribution to the atmospheric build-up would go up by almost 2 per cent, the researchers have found.

"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.

The GCP, a collaboration between worldwide science organisations, aims to monitor global carbon emissions and their sources in order to help "slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere".

From 2014 to 2016 global Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry grew hardly at all.

Many scientists believe the new figures are cause for concern.

The world's carbon emissions are expected to show a lurch upwards this year, by around 2%, after three years of staying virtually level.

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The research was conducted by University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project and the findings were published today simultaneously in the journals Nature Climate Change, Earth System Science Data Discussions and Environmental Research Letters. Much will depend on the fast implementation of the global climate deal sealed in Paris in 2015 and this is the focus of the United Nations summit of the world's countries in Bonn, Germany this week. "What happens after 2017 is very open and depends on how much effort countries are going to make". It is more likely that emissions will plateau or have a slight positive growth broadly in line with national emission pledges submitted to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

She added that the hurricanes and floods seen earlier this year were "a window into the future".

"By continuing to cause this inexorable rise in Carbon dioxide we are pushing the climate closer and closer to the edge of our comfort zone", said Professor Richard Betts, of the University of Exeter and the Met Office Hadley Centre.

Blaming China for the spike in emissions, co-author Glen Peters, research director at CICERO in Oslo, who led one of the studies, said: "The return to growth in global emissions in 2017 is largely due to a return to growth in Chinese emissions, projected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2017 after two years with declining emissions".

China - the top greenhouse gas emitter ahead of the United States - accounts for nearly 30 percent of world emissions. Still, the report estimates that USA carbon emissions will likely fall this year by 0.4 percent - despite the Trump administration's policies favoring fossil fuels over renewable energy.

Also, Yang noted coal use for heating in rural villages in northern China is being replaced by natural gas, which may help offset coal growth in other sectors.

Although pauses have been observed prior to 2014-16, GCP executive director Dr Pep Canadell said that they typically correlated with economic downturns such as the global financial crisis.


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