Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Save millions of lives by tackling climate change, says WHO

Save millions of lives by tackling climate change, says WHO

The 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven by appreciable growth in coal use for the second year in a row, and sustained growth in oil and gas use, according to the study that was published simultaneously Wednesday in several leading scientific journals.

The researchers said global carbon dioxide emissions have China's carbon emissions account for 27% of the global total and have increased an estimated 4.7% in 2018.

The U.N. chief chided countries, particularly those most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, for failing to do enough to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord.

"With this year's growth in emissions, it looks like the peak is not yet in sight".

It follows a three year hiatus during which global Carbon dioxide emissions appeared to have been plateauing between 2014 and 2016.

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Curbing carbon emissions is the single most important pledge of the historic 2015 agreement, which aims to combat climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century to between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees Celsius.

This year's growth in emissions has been attributed to the strong economic growth.

To appreciate the implications of this surge (and the propriety of the scientists' locomotive metaphor): In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that the world was on pace to suffer widespread, climate-induced food shortages by 2040; when one takes 2018's surge in emissions into account, such calamities could plausibly arrive by 2030.

China continues to remain the largest emitter of the world, with its emissions in 2018 likely to reach 10.3 billion tonnes, an increase of 4.7 per cent from a year ago.

The day after Thanksgiving, the Trump administration released a almost 1,700-page report cowritten by hundreds of scientists finding that climate change is already causing increasing damage to the United States.

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"A robust global economy, insufficient emission reductions in developed countries, and a need for increased energy use in developing countries where per capita emissions remain far below those of wealthier nations will continue to put upward pressure on Carbon dioxide emissions". "Coal is still the mainstay of the Indian economy, and as in China, it will be a challenge for solar and wind to displace coal, given the strong growth in energy use", it said.

Worldwide, renewable energy continues to see remarkable growth.

Even solid progress in Katowice on the Paris goals may not be enough to prevent runaway global warming, as a series of major climate reports have outlined.

Still, experts say there's room for optimism. What's needed now is continued policy growth that will "ensure that the exponential curve of solutions outpaces that of climate impacts, and drives net emissions to zero by 2050", they write. "We are in deep trouble with climate change", United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said at the conference this week.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News.

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