For three years emissions have stayed relatively flat, now they are rising again. By the end of 2017, global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industry are projected to rise by about 2 per cent compared with the preceding year, with an uncertainty range between 0.8 per cent and 3 per cent.
That is the conclusion of the 2017 Global Carbon Budget published mid-November 2017 by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) in the journals Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters and Earth System Science Data Discussions. The announcement comes as nations meet in Bonn, Germany, for the annual United Nations climate negotiations (COP23).
Global CO2 emissions from all human activities are estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017. This means time is running out on the ability to keep warming well below 2 ºC let alone 1.5 ºC, the researchers warn.
According to the Global Carbon Budget, the return to growing global emissions in 2017 is largely caused by a return to growth in Chinese emissions, following two years of declining emissions. They say that the use of coal, the main fuel source in China, may increase parallel to stronger growth in industrial production and lower hydro-power generation due to less rainfall. China’s emissions account for 28 per cent of global emissions.
In the long term, emissions are unlikely to return to the persistent high growth rates of over 3 per cent per year seen during the 2000s. It is more likely that emissions will plateau or have slight positive growth, broadly in line with national emission pledges submitted to the Paris Agreement.
The Global Carbon Budget is produced by 76 scientists from 57 research institutions in 15 countries working under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project (GCP). The budget, now in its 12th year, provides an in-depth look at the amount of fossil fuels that nations around the world burn and where it ends up. GCP is sponsored by Future Earth and the World Climate Research Programme.