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Carbon Emissions Rise Again in 2018, New Report Finds

What, if anything, should Congress do to address climate change risk?

by Axios | 12.5.18

Data: Global Carbon Atlas; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Global carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are projected to rise by more than 2% in 2018 to the highest levels in recorded history, according to a new study by the Global Carbon Project.

Why it matters: The data clearly shows that the rapid growth in low carbon technologies, such as solar and wind power as well as electric vehicles, are not yet sufficient to cause global emissions of planet-warming gases to peak or decline.

The report comes as climate negotiators gather in Katowice, Poland, for the latest round of UN climate talks, and shortly after other research has warned that progress to cut emissions is happening far too slowly to prevent potentially catastrophic levels of global warming.

Details: The growth in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry is expected to be about 2.7% in 2018, the report estimates, with a range of between 1.8% and 3.7%, given the range of uncertainty.

  • "The growing global demand for energy is outpacing decarbonization efforts. This needs to change, and it needs to change quickly," said Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in the U.K., in a statement.

The new data for 2018, published Wednesday, shows that global emissions from burning fossil fuels are expected to hit 37.1 billion metric tons in 2018, a record high and the second straight year of growth that followed 3 years of a flat trend.

The trend: This year’s rising emission figures are largely due to an uptick in coal use, while oil use is also growing in most regions, including the U.S.

  • The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, the U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Canada, the report finds. The EU as a whole region of countries ranks third.

By the numbers: A recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that to limit global warming to the Paris Agreement's goal of 1.5°C, or 2.7°F, above preindustrial levels, emissions would need to be cut by 50% by 2030, and slashed to net zero by 2050.

The new report underscores the fact that we're headed in the opposite direction from what scientists and many world leaders say is needed.

The bottom line: "We are not doing enough! It is not enough to just support solar, wind, or electric vehicles," Glen Peters, research director at the CICERO Center for International Climate Research in Oslo who led the emissions analysis, told Axios via email.

"Unless policies are in place to stop carbon going into the atmosphere, we will never meet our climate goals. We have to support new technologies, while at the same time discouraging old technologies."

Andrew Freedman

Axios

Written by Axios

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(78)
  • Robert
    12/05/2018
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    They can start with getting rid of President Trump and then they can take their heads out of their asses and address climate change.

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  • IllWill
    12/06/2018
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    Well what do you know, the U.S. is one of the biggest culprits. I thought the orange clown in the White House said were the cleanest that we’ve ever been. Obviously none of this will matter to Trump or his far right idiots who don’t believe in science, facts, or data. We’re going to have to make moves at local and state levels if we’re going to adequately address greenhouse gases until this administration is out the door.

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  • Elly
    12/06/2018
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    Climate change is the number one issue you should be focusing on!

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  • Miles
    12/05/2018
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    I don’t want to hear “carbon tax”, that’s what’s causing riots in France right now. Carbon taxes aren’t based in reality because a price being put on carbon emissions is baseless & isn’t even a guesstimation, but a complete shot in the dark. Climate change policies before have shown to be just a front for socialist redistribution of wealth.

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  • Jennifer
    12/05/2018
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    Gee I wonder why?! The EPA needs to get back in the business of protecting the environment instead of polluting the environment

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  • Mark
    12/06/2018
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    In the year 1900 the world had a census of less than 1 billion people. In 2010 the world edged past 8 billion. Think about that. Worse, virtually all of that growth is in the rapidly industrializing third world that we have zero control over. If you really want to help the planet go to Beijing and protest. Good luck with that by the way. Better buy the travel insurance.

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  • John
    12/05/2018
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    We need the Green New Deal that is being put forward by the incoming Democrats. We need a carbon tax. We need to end subsides for carbon based extractive companies. We need to educate the Repugnacant naysayers and show them that facts and truth are not beyond their understanding.

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  • Pauline
    12/06/2018
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    The recent reports out on global warming continue to verify that we must take this issue very seriously. We need an aggressive program built on many fronts to tackle this issue. What are you doing legislatively to address this issue? It is not fake news and it will require many changes. By putting our heads in the sand the costs will grow exponentially. We need serious efforts to transition to renewables, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in our daily living. This will take the hard work and commitment by all of us if we want to leave future generations with a livable planet.

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  • KansasTamale
    12/06/2018
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    This is not ENTIRELY because of Trump rolling back all thE protections for our environment, BUT HIS IGNORANCE OF THE FACT THAT CORPORATIONS DUMPING COAL WASTE, FRACKING LEFTOVERS, ETC INTO OUR WATER & ON OUR LANDS, AS WELL AS, ALLOWING DRILLING& DESTRUCTION OF OUR NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS ARE HAVING AN IMPACT AND LEAVING A FOOTPRINT ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS WE ARD HAVING. DROUGHT/ FLOODS/ TORNADOES IN WRONG TIME/ NO SPRING WEATHER/ NO FALL WEATHER, etc. . Does this not say something HAS TO BE DONE.

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  • William
    12/05/2018
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    What this short write up fails to point out is that since the Paris Climate Accords were signed (and the US subsequently backed out of) the US has been decreasing carbon emissions year over year, while countries like China, India, etc (who remain signatories to the agreement) have continued to increase year over year because they continue to build new coal plants. The agreement is worthless if each country can do what they want with.m no way to hold their feet to the fire. There is also no data that proves how much of a reduction in carbon emissions will make the difference they seeking long term. Not to mention the economic consequences of trying to cut too much too fast.

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  • James
    12/05/2018
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    This is seriously flawed! Who are these so called scientists? Witch Doctors?

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  • Ben
    12/06/2018
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    The rich are going to kill us all with their pollution and you are just standing by collecting your cash and filling your greedy little pockets. Fuck you for killing us, fuck you for not doing your jobs right.

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  • PLD
    12/05/2018
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    When leadership gives more focus on profits for businesses that support them, we could hardly expect less. 😢

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  • Surender
    12/05/2018
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    Clearly china & usa are the biggest culprits!

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  • ManfromNebraska
    12/06/2018
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    More people more emissions. We have plenty of laws already. If you as an individual want to get rid of your car, disconnect your electricity and anything else go right ahead! It won’t change anything.

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  • SneakyPete
    12/05/2018
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    WE MUST DEVELOP NEW CARBON TECHNIQUES - - NOW I’m in agreement that not ONLY the USA 🇺🇸 BUT ALL nations insure that applicable policies are set in place,to stop carbon going into the atmosphere, we will never meet our climate goals. ALL nations must not only support but continuing to develop new technologies, while at the same time discouraging old technologies." SneakyPete..... 🙀👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🙀. 12*5*18.....

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  • Karen
    12/06/2018
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    Start by quit denying climate change exists and work with other congressional leaders to come up with immediate remedies to decrease carbon emissions and reverse some of the damage/pollution, and other damaging effects to our country and the whole planet. Play nice together with our allies and work with world leaders instead of playing the unpredictable bully-that never-accomplishes long lasting positive changes.

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  • Andrew
    12/06/2018
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    WE NEED CARBON CAPTURE AND A CARBON TAX-- IMMEDIATELY !!!!

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  • Garrett
    12/05/2018
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    Regardless of carbon increasing or not, this isn’t the argument. No one denies that carbon emissions are increasing the carbon in the atmosphere. Also, no one is denying that climate change is real and is happening. The question is if carbon is causing the warming, therefore the argument is not whether climate change is real, but rather whether climate change is anthropogenic.

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  • Lynn
    12/05/2018
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    Bogus data. China and India are much worse than shown. We’re less than half of what’s shown. We’re not the bad guys here, people.

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