China and United States greenhouse gas levels to new highs

Tackling climate change could save millions of lives, report says

Global emissions of carbon dioxide mainly from fossil fuel burning will rise 2.7% in 2018, scientists said Wednesday, signalling a world "completely off course" in the fight against climate change.

China's emissions accounted for 27% of the global total, having grown an estimated 4.7% in 2018 and reaching a new all-time high.

Mohamed Adow, worldwide climate lead for Christian Aid, said poor people in developing countries most exposed to climate hazards simply can not wait.

And yet, there was one silver lining behind this cloud of gray smog: While humanity's annual output of carbon emissions was wildly unsustainable, it had finally stopped rising: For three straight years, the growth rate of annual carbon emissions had hovered near zero, even as the global economy and population continued to swell. By 2020, India can announce its own fossil-fuel exit strategy and a target date for its peak Carbon dioxide emissions, the study said.

India is the fourth highest emitter of carbon dioxide after China, U.S., and the European Union region.

The research, carried out by the Global Carbon Project (GCP), says that this year's "strong" rise in CO2 levels is projected to be 2.7% as compared to 2017's 1.6%. The organization said in the meeting held in Poland that climate change has a serious impact on human lives and health as exposure to air pollution causes seven million deaths worldwide every year, costing an estimated 5.11 trillion USA dollars in welfare losses globally.

"Emissions need to peak and rapidly decrease to address climate change".

But 2017 put an end to that streak, as emissions crept up by 1.6 percent. That seems to have spiked emissions from heat and electricity.

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

In a broader sense, reversing the upward trend in global emissions comes down to two major challenges, Peters suggested-strengthening reductions in places where emissions are already declining, and reducing growth in places where emissions are still climbing. The report also said despite an increase in renewable energy sources, green energy is unable to come close to the global economy's energy demands which means that people continue to guzzle fossil fuels.

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. The researchers said wind and solar energy are growing fast but from a low base.

"Innovation must be the main driver of energy transformation", Morawiecki said, as quoted by Poland's PAP news agency.

Speed continues to be the critical factor, Peters noted.

The report says if we meet the commitments of the 2015 Paris climate agreement then it can save millions of lives as well as hundreds of billions of dollars till the middle of the century.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News.

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