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Carbon dioxide emissions rose in 2017 after three flat years

13 November 2017

He attributed the global increase largely to growth in Chinese emissions.

These are continuing to rise as a outcome of warming driven by ever higher greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, in response to the profligate global consumption of fossil fuels.

That's the conclusion of the 2017 Global Carbon Budget, published 13 November by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) in the journals Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters and Earth System Science Data Discussions. Such report will play an important role when countries take "Global Stocktake" under the Paris Agreement every five years.

The increase comes after a period of nearly no growth between 2014 and 2016, according to the Global Carbon Project's Global Carbon Budget 2017 report.

Global emissions held steady at 36.2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year from 2014 to 2016, but they are on track to hit a new record high of 36.8 gigatonnes in 2017. "This is very disappointing", says Professor Corinne Le Quere, who led the new research. "It is far too early to proclaim that we have turned a corner and started the journey towards zero emissions".

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In 2017, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry are projected to grow by 2% (0.8% to 3%).

Flat emissions in recent years were particularly remarkable because they were accompanied by worldwide economic growth. It is again a key driver in 2017.

The 2017 carbon budget, now in its 12th year, says global carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities like fossil fuels, industry and change of land-use will reach around 41 billion tonnes carbon dioxide this year.

The research also says that coal use in China and the U.S. are expected to increase this year.

CO2 emissions are projected to go down in America and the European Union, by 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent respectively - both smaller declines than during the prior 10 years.

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"After having more or less no growth for three years, the global Carbon dioxide emission is expected to pop up in 2017 by about 2 per cent to a record high". It is, therefore, significantly less that the 6% per year averaged emission growth over the previous decade (2007-16). Emissions in the remaining countries, representing about 40% of the global total, are expected to increase by 2.3%.

Yang Fuqiang, senior adviser for the NRDC China Program, said the eventual carbon emissions of 2017 could be lower than forecast, as authorities have put on a large-scale production curb on industries such as steel and cement to combat air pollution during winter months.

UEA's Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research director Corinne Le Quéré said in a statement, "With global Carbon dioxide emissions from human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below two degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees Celsius". It will help scientific community to develop methods and perform measurements that can verify changes in national emissions within the five-yearly cycle.

Professor Le Quéré said: "The Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement will occur every five years, and this puts huge pressure on the scientific community to develop methods and perform measurements that can truly verify changes in emissions within this five-yearly cycle".

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Carbon dioxide emissions rose in 2017 after three flat years