Emissions slowdown brings positives
Global temperatures are soaring toward a record high this year, the UN weather agency said yesterday, while another report showed emissions of a key global warming gas have flattened out in the past three years.
The reports injected a mix of gloom and hope at UN climate talks in Marrakech this week.
“Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016,” said Petteri Taalas, the head of the World Meteorological Organisation ( WMO). WMO’s preliminary data through October showed world temperatures, boosted by the El Nino phenomenon, are 1.2 Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
That’s getting close to the limit set by the global climate agreement adopted in Paris last year. It calls for limiting the temperature rise since the industrial revolution to 2 Celsius or even 1.5 Celsius.
WMO said 16 of the 17 hottest years have occurred this century. The only exception was 1998, which was also an El Nino year.
Another report released yesterday delivered some positive news, showing global CO2 emissions have flattened out in the past three years.
However, the authors of the study say it’s unclear whether the slowdown, mainly caused by declining coal use in China, is a permanent trend or a temporary blip.
“It is far too early to proclaim we have reached a peak,” said Glen Peters, a senior researcher at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.