Global carbon emissions have risen 2 percent in 2017, to 37 billion tons, ending a three-year period of no growth that some experts had hoped meant that greenhouse gas emissions had peaked, according to a new analysis by 76 scientists in 15 countries.
This year’s rise is largely due to a 3.5 percent increase in emissions from China, which used more coal than in previous years because of strong economic growth and drought conditions that reduced energy generation at the nation’s hydroelectric dams.
The findings come from the Global Carbon Project, a collaboration of scientists across the globe that tracks and analyzes CO2 emissions. The new numbers were presented at the United Nation’s COP23 meeting in Bonn on Monday, where nations are hashing out the details of how to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, as pledged in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
“Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again … This is very disappointing,” Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia in Britain and lead researcher of the new analysis, said in a statement. “Time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below 2 degrees C, let alone 1.5 degrees C.”