Rapid global ac­tion urged as all-time high car­bon emis­sions ex­pected in 2018

Global Times - - VIEWPOINT - By Jin Jing, Zhang Ji­awei and Zhang Zhang Page Edi­tor: sunx­i­[email protected] glob­al­times.com.cn

Cli­mate ac­tivists have called for bold and rapid mea­sures by world lead­ers to tackle cli­mate change as a re­port showed Wed­nes­day that global car­bon emis­sions are set to hit an all­time high in 2018.

Ac­cord­ing to re­searchers at the Univer­sity of East An­glia (UEA) and the Global Car­bon Project, global car­bon emis­sions are ex­pected to reach 37.1 bil­lion tons of CO2 in 2018.

The 2018 global emis­sion is ex­pected to rise by more than 2 per­cent from last year, driven by a solid growth in coal use and sus­tained growth in oil and gas use, said the re­port, urg­ing ac­tions by gov­ern­ments at the on­go­ing 24th Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties (COP 24) to the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC) in Ka­tow­ice.

“To limit global warm­ing to the Paris Agree­ment goal of 1.5C, CO2 emis­sions would need to de­cline by 50 per­cent by 2030 and reach net zero by around 2050,” said lead re­searcher Corinne Le Quere, di­rec­tor of the Tyn­dall Cen­ter for Cli­mate Change Research and Pro­fes­sor of Cli­mate Change Science and Pol­icy at UEA.

“We are a long way from this and much more needs to be done,” Le Quere said. CO2 emis­sions have now risen for a sec­ond year, af­ter three years of lit­tle-to-no growth from 2014 to 2016, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“The grow­ing global de­mand for en­ergy is out­pac­ing de­car­boniza­tion for now,” said Le Quere, “We need strong pol­icy and eco­nomic sup­port for rapid de­ploy­ment of low car­bon tech­nolo­gies to cut emis­sions across the en­ergy and trans­port sec­tors, from build­ings and from in­dus­try.”

The two-week COP 24, which opened Sun­day, aims to fi­nal­ize the im­ple­men­ta­tion guide­lines of the land­mark Paris deal and pro­vide clar­ity on how to carry out the ac­cord fairly for all par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries.

Adopt­ing the guide­lines is cru­cial for putting the Paris deal into prac­tice as it will en­able and en­cour­age cli­mate ac­tions at all lev­els world­wide and demon­strate the global com­mit­ment to tack­ling the press­ing chal­lenge.

While coun­tries in­clud­ing China and France are fully com­mit­ted to fi­nal­iz­ing the guide­lines, a great deal of work re­mains to be done in Ka­tow­ice. De­spite grave con­cerns over ris­ing emis­sions, the research team says en­ergy trends are chang­ing with coal use de­creas­ing in many parts of the world and an ex­plo­sion in wind and so­lar en­ergy.

The re­port noted that even though China’s emis­sions have grown an es­ti­mated 4.7 per­cent in 2018, its en­ergy from re­new­ables is grow­ing by 25 per­cent per year.

Thanks to in­creased in­vest­ment in green en­ergy, China’s car­bon in­ten­sity, or the amount of car­bon diox­ide emis­sions per unit of GDP, de­clined by 46 per­cent by 2017 from 2005 lev­els, meet­ing the tar­get ahead of sched­ule of a 40-45 per­cent drop by 2020, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port by the Chi­nese Min­istry of Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Xie Zhen­hua, China’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for cli­mate change, China is well po­si­tioned to meet the tar­get of peak­ing car­bon diox­ide emis­sions by 2030, and even ac­com­plish­ing that sooner than planned. Not only has China taken the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Agree­ment as an in­her­ent part of its own sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, it is also tak­ing solid steps to help de­vel­op­ing coun­tries deal with cli­mate chal­lenges.

China has in 2015 pledged a pack­age of $3.1 bil­lion to the South-South Co­op­er­a­tion Fund on Cli­mate Change for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

It has also do­nated en­ergy con­serv­ing or re­new­able-en­ergy fa­cil­i­ties as well as cli­mate change sur­veil­lance in­stru­ments, and pro­vided funds, tech­nolo­gies and ca­pac­ity build­ing to the least de­vel­oped coun­tries, small-is­land coun­tries and African coun­tries.

In the just con­cluded G20 sum­mit, China, along with France, reaf­firmed its high­est po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment to the ef­fec­tive and trans­par­ent im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Agree­ment. Among the 10 big­gest emit­ters in 2018, five are de­vel­oped coun­tries, namely the US, Japan, Ger­many, South Ko­rea and Canada, ac­cord­ing to the UEA re­port.

Emis­sions in the US ac­count for 15 per­cent of the global to­tal, and set to have grown about 2.5 per­cent in 2018, said the re­port.

“While re­new­ables are ris­ing fast, it is not yet enough to re­verse global emis­sions trends. The rapid ac­tions needed to ad­dress cli­mate change also need to be fair to all gen­er­a­tions,” Le Quere said.

“Fair means re­spon­si­bil­ity. It means eq­uity. It means that the poor must not pay the price of the ad­just­ments. Ev­ery­body has to take ac­tion but the poor should not be bur­dened,” said Meenakshi Raman, le­gal ad­vi­sor of Co­or­di­na­tor Cli­mate Change Pro­gram for Third World Net­work, an in­de­pen­dent non-profit research and ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Much of the cli­mate chal­lenges the world is fac­ing to­day are largely be­cause many de­vel­oped coun­tries did not have the con­straint on car­bon emis­sions, she said, adding that the de­vel­oped coun­tries are not do­ing enough in ac­cor­dance with their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in this re­gard.

Mean­while, China, as the world’s largest de­vel­op­ing coun­try, is show­ing “real lead­er­ship” in tack­ling cli­mate change, she said.

The au­thors are writ­ers with the Xin­hua News Agency. The ar­ti­cle first ap­peared on Xin­hua. opin­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

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