Quantcast

2018 Emissions on Pace to Hit ‘Record High’

Climate
A newly built Chinese state-owned coal fired power plant on Feb. 7, 2017. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images AsiaPac

As representatives from around 200 countries approach the end of first week negotiations on implementing the Paris agreement, a major new report underscores the urgency of their work.

The Global Carbon Budget 2018 was published in the journal Earth System Science Data Wednesday with the help of more than 70 authors from 53 research institutions, and the news is not good. After a three year lull in the rise of greenhouse gas emissions, emissions in 2018 are projected to shoot up by more than 2 percent, "a new record high," the report highlights from The Global Carbon Project said.


"The global rise in carbon emissions is worrying, because to deal with climate change they have to turn around and go to zero eventually," lead paper author and University of East Anglia Professor Corinne Le Quéré, told The Guardian. "We are not seeing action in the way we really need to. This needs to change quickly."

Global greenhouse gas emissions stalled from 2014 to 2016, leading to hopes that increased climate action was making a difference. But in 2017, emissions rose 1.6 percent, and the report projects they will rise a further 2.7 percent this year, which would bring global emissions to a record high of 37.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, The Washington Post reported.

Emissions hikes in 2018 are expected from almost all of the major players: India's will rise 6.3 percent, China's 4.7 percent, and in the U.S. 2.5 percent. Only the EU is expected to see its emissions fall, by 0.7 percent. These four countries contributed the most to 2017's global emissions, with China contributing 27 percent, the U.S. contributing 15 percent, the EU contributing 10 percent and India contributing seven percent.

Overall, the rise in emissions was driven, literally, by an increase in car use, as well as the resurgence of coal as a fuel, The Guardian reported.

Part of the uptick in coal use was due to an economic push in China, Le Quéré told CNN.

"Coal use in China started to increase again last year and this year," Le Quéré said. "It is mostly related to China's economic stimulus in construction, and it probably won't return to the very steady growth that China had in the 2000s."

Study author Glen Peters explained on Twitter that, while renewable energy was growing exponentially, it was not yet doing so fast enough to offset the use of fossil fuels.

Le Quéré also told CNN it was important that governments invest in electric vehicles as they have in renewable energy in recent years so that the transport sector can move more quickly towards decarbonization.

The research caught the attention of participants at the ongoing COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland. Greta Thunberg, a Swedish youth climate activist who spoke at the conference Wednesday, tweeted the news with a renewed call to action.

"Whatever our world leaders are 'doing' to reduce emissions, they are doing it wrong," she wrote.

The report authors said it was possible for emissions to fall again by 2020 if emissions from transportation, agriculture and industry are reduced, The Guardian reported. But if that doesn't happen, emissions will continue to rise until 2030.

"Unless the commitments are revised, the trajectory for the moment is for gentle emissions growth," Le Quéré told CNN. "At the moment the drivers are not for decreasing emissions globally."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a type of palm native to the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
Jeff K / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Elizabeth Henderson

The certified organic label has helped save many generational farms and enabled people like me, who do not come from agricultural backgrounds, to become successful farmers. Organic farming has brought environmental benefits—healthier soils, freedom from toxic pesticides and herbicides—to 6.5 million acres in the U.S.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
PhotoAlto / Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

You've probably heard the buzz around collagen supplements and your skin by now. But is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements — and for many beauty-conscious folk, collagen isn't vegan.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Marlene Cimons

Neil Pederson's introduction to tree rings came from a "sweet and kindly" college instructor, who nevertheless was "one of the most boring professors I'd ever experienced," Pederson said. "I swore tree rings off then and there." But they kept coming back to haunt him.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of the explosion site of a chemical factory on March 22 in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province of China. Caixin Media / VCG / Getty Images)

At least 47 people have died in an explosion at a plant in Yancheng, China Thursday run by a chemical company with a history of environmental violations, Sky News reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A fishmonger in Elmina, a fishing port in the Central Region of Ghana. Environmental Justice Foundation

By Daisy Brickhill

Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Sam Nickerson

Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.

The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.

Read More Show Less
Krystal B / Flickr

Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."

Read More Show Less