The annual increase in global greenhouse gas emissions is on track to hit 2% this year, after levelling off at about 0.4% between 2013 and 2016, according to the latest estimate from the Global Carbon Project (GCP).
“Much of the slowdown in the growth of global emissions in recent years has been driven by a combination of reductions in the U.S. and China, as well as relatively little growth in emissions in other countries,” Carbon Brief explains, in a post picked up by Resilience.org. “This changed in 2017, with little to no reduction in U.S. emissions and a sizeable increase in Chinese emissions.”
So while global emissions “are unlikely to return to the high growth rates seen during the 2000s,” the online news outlet adds, “hopes that global emissions had peaked over the last three years were likely premature.”
The story includes a video explanation of the 2017 results, along with charts that show the progression of emissions in China, India, the United States, the European Union, and the rest of the world since 1960.
GCP estimates that China’s emissions will grow 3.5% this year, though the final figure could be anywhere between 0.7 and 5.4%. “This is driven by a projected 3% increase in coal consumption, 12% increase in natural gas consumption, and 5% increase in oil consumption,” Carbon Brief notes. The return to coal, in turn, “is driven by a combination of increased industrial production and reduced hydroelectric generation associated with lower-than-usual rainfall.”
The GCP also estimates a global carbon budget that factors in emissions from land use changes, carbon uptake by oceans and on land, and changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, as well as fossil fuel and other industrial emissions. The data show this year’s totals in line with 2015 figures, with an increase in fossil emissions offset by a slower growth rate in land use.
“The increase in emissions in 2017 makes it more challenging for the world to limit warming to ‘well below 2.0C’, as per the Paris agreement,” Carbon Brief notes, “at least in the absence of large-scale removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere from as-yet-unproven negative emission technologies later in the century.”