World carbon emissions on the rise again


"Global carbon dioxide emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three-year stable period", Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, and lead researcher for the Global Carbon Budget, said in a press statement.

"In the initial stage we will not do carbon futures, because we are anxious that suddenly entering the futures market with no experience could cause chaos in the market", said Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change, speaking at a briefing on the sidelines of climate talks in Bonn.

The projected 2% increase in carbon dioxide emissions comes from growth in China's smokestack industries and jeopardises the Paris climate agreement goals, say experts. An increase in burning coal in China, in particular, is likely responsible for much of the projected increase in carbon emissions.

And despite a slowing of emissions growth in India and China, global emissions are growing.

"It is clear who the leaders are here: in the face of United States inaction, China and India are stepping up", said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, one of the research groups.

China, the top greenhouse gas emitter ahead of the United States, accounts for nearly 30 percent of world emissions.

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Coal's gains were linked to a rise in the price of natural gas that made coal more attractive in power plants, Peters told Reuters, rather than the effects of U.S. President Donald Trump's pro-coal policies. The report found that declines in the USA and Europe were smaller than previous years. "That transition is being driven by the low cost of new renewable infrastructure, and it's being driven by new consumer preferences".

But as the Trump administration continues to push fossil fuel use at home and overseas, the Global Carbon Budget's scientists warn that the world is running out of time to tackle climate change.

The annual report released Monday by the Global Carbon Project provides fuel to environmentalists to argue that the slowdown in emissions growth was more of a fluke than the start of a pattern.

Carbon emissions had been roughly flat from 2014-16, but will increase this year mainly due to a rise in China after a two-year decline, the scientists said.

Trump plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement. To Le Quéré, the question now is whether 2017 is a temporary blip or a return to business as usual.