Philippine Daily Inquirer - - WORLD -

BONN— Car­bon diox­ide emis­sions are set to rise this year af­ter a three-year pause, sci­en­tists said at UN cli­mate talks on Mon­day, warn­ing that “time is run­ning out,” even as White House of­fi­cials used the oc­ca­sion to cham­pion the fos­sil fu­els that drive global warm­ing.

CO2 emis­sions, flat since 2014, were fore­cast to rise 2 per­cent in 2017, dash­ing hopes they had peaked, sci­en­tists re­ported at 12-day ne­go­ti­a­tions in the Ger­man city of Bonn end­ing on Fri­day.

“The news that emis­sions are ris­ing af­ter a three-year hia­tus is a giant leap back­ward for hu­mankind,” said Amy Luers, a cli­mate pol­icy ad­vi­sor to Barack Obama and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Fu­ture Earth, which cospon­sored the re­search.

Global CO2 emis­sions for 2017 were es­ti­mated at a record 41 bil­lion tons.

“Time is run­ning out on our abil­ity to keep warm­ing be­low 2 de­grees Cel­sius, let alone 1.5 C,” said lead au­thor Corinne Le Quere, di­rec­tor of the Tyn­dall Cen­ter for Cli­mate Change Re­search at the Univer­sity of East Anglia.

The 196-na­tion Paris Agree­ment, adopted in 2015, calls for cap­ping global warm­ing at 2 C be­low prein­dus­trial lev­els.

Deadly heat­waves

With the planet out of kil­ter af­ter only one de­gree of warm­ing enough to am­plify deadly heat waves, droughts and su­per­storms, the treaty also vows to ex­plore the fea­si­bil­ity of hold­ing the line at 1.5 C.

“As each year ticks by, the chances of avoid­ing 2 C of warm­ing con­tinue to di­min­ish,” said coau­thor Glen Peters, re­search di­rec­tor at Cen­ter for In- ter­na­tional Cli­mate Re­search in Oslo, Nor­way.

“Given that 2 C is ex­tremely un­likely based on cur­rent progress, then 1.5 C is a dis­tant dream,” he told Agence FrancePresse (AFP).

The study iden­ti­fied China as the sin­gle largest cause of resur­gent fos­sil fuel emis­sions in 2017, with the coun­try’s coal, oil and nat­u­ral gas use up 3, 5 and 12 per­cent, re­spec­tively.

Earth is over­heat­ing due to the burn­ing of oil, gas and es­pe­cially coal to power the global econ­omy.

That did not dis­cour­age US of­fi­cials from the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump from mak­ing a case at the UN ne­go­ti­a­tions for “The Role of Cleaner and More Ef­fi­cient Fos­sil Fu­els and Nu­clear Power in Cli­mate Mit­i­ga­tion.”

Fos­sil fu­els

“With­out a ques­tion, fos­sil fu­els will con­tinue to be used,” Ge­orge David Banks, a special en­ergy and en­vi­ron­ment as­sis­tant to the US pres­i­dent told a stand­ing-room-only au­di­ence, cit­ing pro­jec­tions from the International En­ergy Agency.

Faced with this re­al­ity, “we would ar­gue that it’s in the global in­ter­est to make sure that when fos­sil fu­els are used, that it’s as clean and ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble.”

More than 15,000 sci­en­tists mean­while warned that car­bon emis­sions, hu­man pop­u­la­tion growth, and con­sump­tion-driven life­styles were poi­son­ing the planet and de­plet­ing its re­sources.

“We are jeop­ar­diz­ing our fu­ture,” they wrote in a com­ment en­ti­tled “World Sci­en­tists’ Warn­ing to Hu­man­ity: A Sec­ond No­tice,” echo­ing a sim­i­lar open let­ter from 1992.—

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