It is not surprising that a new report has found that global carbon emissions are set for an all-time high in 2018.The Global Carbon Project and the University of East Anglia (UEA) have stated that in 2018 the projected rise of carbon emissions will be 2.7%, which is much higher than the 1.6% rise in 2017, according to climateaction.org.
Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at UEA, said: “We are seeing a strong growth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions once again. Emissions need to peak and rapidly decrease to address climate change. With this year’s growth in emissions, it looks like the peak is not yet in sight. This year we have seen how climate change can already amplify the impacts of heatwaves worldwide. The California wildfires are just a snapshot of the growing impacts we face if we don’t drive emissions down rapidly.”
This news follows the IPCC report which highlighted the shocking impacts if urgent action is not taken. Christiana Figueres, Mission 2020 campaign group leader and lead author of the Nature Commentary, said: “Global CO2 emissions must start to fall from 2020 if we are to meet the temperature goals of the Paris agreement, but this is within our grasp. We have already achieved things that seemed unimaginable just a decade ago.” The report found that emissions from cars, trucks and planes using fossil fuels continue to rise. Previously, environmentalists have urged governments to bring forward targets to ban the sale of all petrol and diesel vehicles. The role of deforestation has also played a part in rising CO2 emissions, deforestation and other human activities on land contributed to an additional 5bn tonnes of CO2 this year.
According to the report from the Global Carbon Project and the UEA, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from about 277 parts per million (ppm) in 1750, the beginning of the industrial era, to 405.0±0.1 ppm in 2017. The atmospheric CO2 increase above pre-industrial levels was, initially, primarily caused by the release of carbon to the atmosphere from deforestation and other land-use change activities. While emissions from fossil fuels started before the industrial era, they only became the dominant source of anthropogenic emissions to the atmosphere around 1950 and their relative share has continued to increase until present. Anthropogenic emissions occur on top of an active natural carbon cycle that circulates carbon among the reservoirs of the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere on timescales from sub-daily to millennial, while exchanges with geologic reservoirs occur at longer timescales.
The good news is that the deployment of renewable energy worldwide is accelerating with electricity generation growing at 15% per year on average over the last decade. However, this has not been enough to offset the growth in fossil energy because renewables are growing from a low base. An accelerated adoption of non-conventional sources of energy and a commitment to reduce fossil energy consumption are the need of the hour.
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