Chinese coal fuels rise in carbon emissions
SWITZERLAND: Global carbon dioxide emissions are rising again, ending hopes that pollution had reached a peak.
The projected 2 per cent increase this year is being driven partly by more coal burning in China, according to research by Britain’s University of East Anglia (UEA).
China’s emissions are forecast to rise by 3.5 per cent this year because of stronger growth in industrial production and lower hydro power generation after less rainfall.
India’s emissions are expected to rise by 2 per cent, although the annual rise has fallen from an average of more than 6 per cent in the past decade.
CO2 emissions in the United States are expected to decline by 0.4 per cent and in the European Union by 0.2 per cent, smaller declines than during the previous decade.
The figures were published in the journal Nature Climate Change as delegates from 195 countries met at the United Nations climate change conference in the German city of Bonn.
Professor Corinne Le Quere, the lead author and director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA, said: ‘‘Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again, after a three-year stable period. This is very disappointing.
‘‘With global CO2 emissions from human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below 2C, let alone 1.5C.
‘‘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. This is a window into the future. We need to reach a peak in global emissions in the next few years and drive emissions down rapidly afterwards.’’
Renewable energy had increased by 14 per cent a year over the past five years, the report said. In further grounds for optimism, 22 countries managed to expand their economies while cutting emissions.
Dave Reay, professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘‘ More renewables, energy efficiency and forest protection are all helping to keep the global carbon debt in check, but balancing the books will require far greater contributions from the world’s nations.’’
Andrew Watson, a professor at the University of Exeter, said: ‘‘There continues to be grounds for optimism. Emissions have not peaked yet, but they are definitely levelling out, despite increasing global economic activity. This is a hopeful sign.’’
A separate report published yesterday found that a quarter of the 241 UN-listed natural world heritage sites were at risk from climate change.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef are threatened by mass bleaching of corals caused by increases in water temperature, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Retreating glaciers threaten Kilimanjaro National Park in Africa and the Jungfrau-Aletsch in the Swiss Alps.
The Everglades National Park in Florida and Lake Turkana in Kenya are on the union’s ‘‘critical list’’ of the most threatened world heritage sites.– The Times
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Increased burning of coal by China, partly due to stronger growth in industrial production, is driving a rise in global carbon dioxide emissions.