Global carbon emissions to rise again in 2017

Exxon Mobils refinery in Louisiana

Global carbon dioxide emission is set to rise in 2017 after three stable years (2014-16) with China continuing to dominate the scene by recording highest increase as compared to last year. An increase in burning coal in China, in particular, is likely responsible for much of the projected increase in carbon emissions.

The 12th annual report is produced by 76 of the world's leading emissions experts from 57 research institutions and estimates that global carbon emissions from fossil fuels will have risen by 2 per cent by the end of 2017 - a significant rise, reports the Guardian.

Still, the report estimates that US carbon emissions will likely fall this year by 0.4 percent - despite the Trump administration's policies favoring fossil fuels over renewable energy.

The main reason for the rise is an expected 3.5 per cent increase in emissions in China, the world's biggest polluter, where low rains have reduced low-carbon hydroelectric output and industrial activity has increased.

"This year we have seen how climate change can amplify the impacts of hurricanes with more intense rainfall, higher sea levels and warmer ocean conditions favouring more powerful storms".

United States emissions are projected to decline by -0.4%(-2.7% to +1.9%), with coal consumption projected to rise slightly (GDP up 2.2%). "This is a window into the future", Le Quéré said. Rising carbon dioxide emissions are generally associated with a rising GDP, but the report noted that 22 countries lowered their emissions while their economics grew as well.

"The past three years - '14, '15, '16 - were quite exceptional in so far as that in the whole record, it's the first time that we saw emissions not growing at the same time as the global economy was growing quite strongly", he said.

From 2014 to 2016 global Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry grew hardly at all.

Furthermore, renewable energy generation across the world has increased at 14 per cent a year over the past five years, albeit it from a very low base, the report noted.

Atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 403 parts per million in 2016, and is expected to increase by 2.5 ppm in 2017.

They say the growth in 2017 is mainly due to stronger emissions growth in China and other developing countries, and their findings show that the Paris goals could quickly slip out of reach. "We do not know if the increase in emissions in 2017 is a one-off, or represents changes leading to more sustained upward pressure on emissions in the years ahead".

"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.

Dr Glen Peters of the CICERO Center for International Climate Research in Oslo who led one of the studies said: "The return to growth in global emissions in 2017 is largely due to growth in Chinese emissions, projected to grow by 3.5% in 2017 after two years with declining emissions".

The news arrives as hundreds of countries enter the second week of the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, where leaders will discuss how to implement the standards set during the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

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