Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018

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Smokestacks

This year, global carbon emissions are expected to rise by roughly 2.7 percent - a rate comparable to a "speeding freight train" - according to new research from the Global Carbon Project, a collective comprised of more than 50 scientific institutions, and a leading authority on carbon pollution.

Scientists projected Wednesday that over 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide have been released into the atmosphere this year, the highest amount ever.

"Possibly, this year is unusual", said lead author Corinne Le Quere at the University of East Anglia.

The article in Environmental Research Letters said Chinese emissions in 2018, compared to 2017, were estimated to have grown 4.7 per cent, with the U.S. up 2.5 per cent, the European Union down 0.7 per cent, India up 6.3 per cent, and the rest of the world up 1.8 per cent.

A strong climate and health call to action for COP24 was issued by organizations representing over 5 million doctors, nurses and public health professionals and 17,000 hospitals; from over 120 countries.

"Additional increases in 2019 remain uncertain but appear likely because of persistent growth in oil and natural gas use and strong growth projected for the global economy", the article said.

Average global temperatures were 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels and projected to reach 1.5C within two decades at current rates of warming. "Investment in electric vehicles needs to expand".

The report listed the 10 biggest emitters as China, the United States, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada, with China rising the most rapidly.

Global warming emissions targets vs actual
Global warming emissions targets vs actual

Fossil fuel emissions are estimated to grow this year by 4.7 percent in China, 6.3 percent in India and 2.5 percent in the USA and decrease by 0.7 percent in the EU. By 2020, India can announce its own fossil-fuel exit strategy and a target date for its peak Carbon dioxide emissions, the study said.

In nations where emissions are still rising, often in response to economic growth and improved living standards, the challenges are often greater. We are in deep trouble with climate change, " United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual UN climate conference, where countries will wrestle with the ambitious goals they need to meet to sharply reduce carbon emissions in coming years.

The finding on rich nations" emission is part of a report of the UN climate body on "progress and gaps' in pre-2020 targets of these countries.

Rapid deployment of solar and wind power, along with gains in energy efficiency, have been outpaced by growth in demand for freight, personal transport, shipping, and aviation, the research showed.

Worldwide, renewable energy continues to see remarkable growth.

The growth in renewables and other low-carbon technologies is encouraging, they note, and some nations are already strengthening their Paris pledges.

"You could say every year of delay means we're facing higher temperatures in the future or more negative emissions in the future, or both", he said.

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