Global car­bon diox­ide emis­sions hit record

Hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties push out­put to 45 bil­lion tons

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Doyle Rice “It’s a bit stag­ger­ing. We race head­long into the un­known.” Ralph Keel­ing, study co-au­thor and Scripps In­sti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy sci­en­tist

World­wide emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide — the green­house gas most re­spon­si­ble for global warm­ing — are on the rise again in 2017 af­ter three years of lit­tle to no growth, a study re­leased Mon­day found.

Global emis­sions from all hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties will reach an all-time record 45 bil­lion tons in 2017, fol­low­ing a pro­jected 2% rise in burn­ing fos­sil fu­els such as oil, gas and coal, the study re­vealed.

The re­port by the Global Car­bon Project team dashed hopes that emis­sions had peaked. “We hoped that we had turned the cor­ner . ... We haven’t,” said study co-au­thor Rob Jack­son of Stan­ford Univer­sity.

The re­port was re­leased at the United Na­tions’ an­nual cli­mate change con­fer­ence in Bonn, Ger­many.

“Global CO2 emis­sions ap­pear to be go­ing up strongly once again,” said lead re­searcher Corinne Le Quéré of the Tyn­dall Cen­tre for Cli­mate Change Re­search.

“This is very dis­ap­point­ing,” she added. “Time is run­ning out” to keep warm­ing well be­low 2 de­grees C (3.6 de­grees Fahren­heit). The Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment, which every na­tion ex­cept the U.S. promised to sign, set the 2-de­gree tar­get.

China is cited for the growth in emis­sions, the study found, with a pro­jected growth of 3.5%, pri­mar­ily be­cause of its in­creased coal burn­ing.

“The use of coal, the main fuel source in China, may rise by 3% due to stronger growth in in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion and lower hy­dro-power gen­er­a­tion due to less rain­fall,” said Glen Peters of the Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Cli­mate Re­search in Oslo.

Global lev­els of car­bon emis­sions have sky­rock­eted in re­cent decades. Sixty years ago, the world spewed only 9.2 bil­lion tons per year.

“It’s a bit stag­ger­ing,” said co-au­thor Ralph Keel­ing, a Scripps In­sti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy sci­en­tist, not­ing lev­els have in­creased four­fold since the 1950s. “We race head­long into the un­known.”

On av­er­age, about 2.57 mil­lion pounds of car­bon diox­ide is emit­ted into the air every sec­ond.

The top five car­bon pol­lut­ing coun­tries are China, the United States, In­dia, Rus­sia and Ja­pan. Europe, taken as a whole, would rank third.

The re­search was pub­lished in the jour­nals Na­ture Cli­mate Change, Earth Sys­tem Sci­ence Data Dis­cus­sions and En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­search Let­ters.

Con­tribut­ing: The As­so­ci­ated Press

KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IM­AGES

Smoke bil­lows from a large steel plant as a la­borer works at an unau­tho­rized steel fac­tory in In­ner Mon­go­lia, China. A new re­port points to China as the source of ris­ing emis­sions.

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