Global carbon emissions to rise 2% in 2017: scientists


Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry are expected to rise 2% in 2017, mainly driven by increases in China and other developing countries.

Dr Glen Peters of the Centre for International Climate Research in Oslo said, "The growth in 2017 emissions is unwelcome news, but it is too early to say whether it is a one-off event on a way to a global peak in emissions, or the start of a new period with upward pressure on global emissions growth". The government talks proudly of having cut United Kingdom emissions by 42 per cent since 1990 but this will make little overall difference if other countries continue to increase theirs.

Government intervention has helped India limit the growth in its carbon emissions to a projected 2% this year, much slower than the annual 6% over the previous decade, a report said on Monday. "This demonstrates that we can not be complacent that the emissions would stay flat", Glen P Peters, Center for International Climate Research in Oslo (CICERO), said at a press conference in Bonn, where the current round of climate talks are under way.

"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".

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"This is a window into the future", she said.

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". Technologies-including wind and solar power-have surged about 14 percent each year in the last five years, though the starting point was low. In 101 countries, emissions increased as GDP increased.

Every nation in the world has signed into the agreement.

Future Earth's executive director Amy Luers said, "This year's carbon budget news is a step back for humankind". "Fortunately, now it is not only possible, but in most cases makes simple financial sense, to meet these electricity needs with renewable energy sources".

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"The world is still reducing its emissions intensity by about 1.5% a year", he says, referring to the amount of Carbon dioxide emitted per dollar of GDP.

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Persistent uncertainties exist in scientists' ability to estimate recent changes in emissions, particularly when there are unexpected changes as in the last few years. Rising carbon dioxide emissions are generally associated with a rising GDP, but the report noted that 22 countries lowered their emissions while their economics grew as well.

The U.S., which is the world's second biggest emitter, is projected to have a decline in emissions at 0.4 percent, a smaller decrease compared to the previous decade (1.2 percent each year).

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"Policy makers in Bonn are preparing for the Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement, that will start in 2018 and occur every five years, and this puts enormous pressure on the scientific community to develop methods and perform measurements that can truly verify changes in emissions within this five-yearly cycle", Prof Le Quere added.