Emis­sions hit record in ad­vance of new tar­gets

Connecticut Post - - BUSINESS -

Two years af­ter 200 or so na­tions forged a new United Na­tions deal to pro­tect the cli­mate, out­put of the gases blamed for global warm­ing surged to a record.

Car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from en­ergy use climbed 1.6 per­cent in 2017, with both emerg­ing and de­vel­oped economies con­tribut­ing to the in­crease, ac­cord­ing to BP Plc data pub­lished Wed­nes­day. In the U.S., which in­tends to with­draw from the UN’s Paris ac­cord, green­house-gas out­put fell for a third year.

Emis­sions are ris­ing in the run-up to the 2020 start of the Paris deal, which pushed all coun­tries rich and poor to make re­duc­tions in fos­sil-fuel use. As emerg­ing-na­tion eco­nomic growth ac­cel­er­ates, coun­tries re­main di­vided about who should fi­nance projects to limit pol­lu­tion and how deep na­tional pledges should go.

Hardly any na­tions have plans com­pat­i­ble with the Paris tar­gets, and rich coun­tries that have contributed the most to the buildup of gases in the at­mos­phere aren’t pro­vid­ing enough help for poorer ones, Kouas­si­gan To­vivo, a cli­mate ne­go­tia­tor for the least-de­vel­oped coun­tries group in the UN talks, said in an in­ter­view.

The big­gest ad­vances in emis­sions were in emerg­ing na­tions, with a 4.4 per­cent jump in In­dia and a 1.6 per­cent gain in China. Car­bon diox­ide out­put also rose in Brazil, Qatar and Rus­sia, while Turkey’s jumped by 13 per­cent.

In the Euro­pean Union, home to the world’s big­gest car­bon mar­ket, emis­sions from en­ergy use ad­vanced 1.5 per­cent. Green­house gas out­put rose in Canada.

BP’s data is among the first that pro­vides an es­ti­mate of na­tional emis­sions out­put for the year and meshes with pre­lim­i­nary sta­tis­tics pub­lished in March by the In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency. Of­fi­cial data is pub­lished later and covers a wider range of green­house gases.

While the use of re­new­ables has surged, it’s still not dis­plac­ing coal, the dirt­i­est of fos­sil fu­els. Coal’s share of power gen­er­a­tion glob­ally has been lit­tle changed over the past three decades, the BP data show.

“I’m a bit wor­ried, but not overly so,” said Spencer Dale, BP chief econ­o­mist. “I’m more wor­ried by the lack of progress in the power sec­tor over the past 20 years, than by the pickup in car­bon emis­sions last year.”

Pro­grams that put a cost on emis­sions will cover only about 20 per­cent of global emis­sions by 2020, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank’s State & Trends of Car­bon Pric­ing 2018 re­port. Prices in pro­grams that do ex­ist aren’t high enough to keep tem­per­a­tures from ris­ing more than 3.6 Fahren­heit, the main tar­get men­tioned in the 2015 Paris ac­cord.

Given cur­rent ef­forts, the world is prob­a­bly head­ing for tem­per­a­ture gains of 4 de­grees or more, ac­cord­ing to cli­mate ne­go­tia­tor To­vivo, cit­ing fig­ures from Cli­mate Ac­tion Tracker.

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