Burning of fossil fuels worldwide is set to hit a record high in 2017, following three years of flat growth that raised hopes that a peak in global emissions had been reached, the Global Carbon Budget report published on Monday revealed. The 12th annual report is produced by 76 of the world’s leading emissions experts from 57 research institutions and estimates that global carbon emissions from fossil fuels will have risen by 2 per cent by the end of 2017 — a significant rise, reports the Guardian. The main reason for the rise is an expected 3.5 per cent increase in emissions in China, the world’s biggest polluter, where low rains have reduced low-carbon hydroelectric output and industrial activity has increased. India’s rise in emissions was modest compared to previous years at 2 per cent, while the US and European Union were both on track for small falls.
The expected jump in the carbon emissions that drive global warming is a “giant leap backwards for humankind”, according to scientists. Global emissions need to reach their peak by 2020 and then start falling quickly in order to have a realistic chance of keeping global warming below the 2C danger limit. Much will depend on the fast implementation of the global climate deal sealed in Paris in 2015 and this is the focus of the UN summit of the world’s countries in Bonn, Germany this week. The nations must make significant progress in turning the aspirations of the Paris deal into reality, as the action pledged to date would see at least 3 degrees Celsius of warming and increasing extreme weather impacts around the world, the Guardian reported.
“Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three-year stable period. This is very disappointing,” said Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the UK’s University of East Anglia and who led the new research. “The urgency for reducing emissions means they should really be already decreasing now.” The new analysis was based on the available energy use data for 2017 and projections for the latter part of the year. It estimates that 37 billion tonnes of CO2 will be emitted from burning fossil fuels, the highest total so far.