World's carbon emissions set to spike by 2% in 2017

Frederick Owens
November 17, 2017

The group, which helped organize three research groups in concert to come to the conclusions, attributed the carbon growth - likely to be 2 percent year-over-year - to increasing emissions in China and developing nations from burning fossil fuels, aligning with economic growth.

Countries that signed on to the Paris Agreement in 2015 set a goal of limiting the increase in world temperatures from pre-industrial times to two degrees Celsius.

"It is clear who the leaders are here: in the face of United States inaction, China and India are stepping up", said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, one of the research groups.

"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.

"In the initial stage we will not do carbon futures, because we are anxious that suddenly entering the futures market with no experience could cause chaos in the market", said Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change, speaking at a briefing on the sidelines of climate talks in Bonn. And India was also making progress to limit a surge in emissions driven by more coal use. 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. At the same time, the USA will lobby for an increase in the use of coal.

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The Global Carbon Budget is an annual report card that assesses changes in the Earth's sources of carbon dioxide, both natural and human-caused.

The event's focus on coal and nuclear mirrors a push by the Trump administration - through a rule proposed by the Department of Energy - to pay power plants that maintain a supply of at least 90 day's worth of fuel on site.

Trump plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

But as the Trump administration continues to push fossil fuel use at home and overseas, the Global Carbon Budget's scientists warn that the world is running out of time to tackle climate change. "This is a window into the future", Le Quéré said.

"We've ... seen that the private sector can be a catalyst for exponential change", Smith said, citing technologies like artificial intelligence and the cloud, which allow businesses to make "smarter, real-time decisions" that reduce resource consumption.

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