Chi­nese coal fu­els rise in car­bon emis­sions

The Southland Times - - WORLD -

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

PHOTO: REUTERS

In­creased burn­ing of coal by China, partly due to stronger growth in in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion, is driv­ing a rise in global car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

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