Environment

UN report reveals global carbon emissions have reached a record high

UN report reveals global carbo...
Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2017
Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2017
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Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2017
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Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2017

A new UN report that takes stock of climate action with respect to the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement has shone new light on how we continue to come up short. Among the key points are that, after stabilizing for three years, global carbon emissions are again on the rise and have now reached record levels, prompting calls for further action in efforts to close the gap.

The UN Environment's Emissions Gap Report is the body's definitive annual assessment on the void between projected carbon emissions in the year 2030, and what are seen as the levels required to keep global warming to 2° C (3.6° F) above pre-industrial levels, a threshold experts consider the bare minimum to avoid the worst affects of climate change.

Prepared by an international team of scientists, the report's release comes hot on the heels of this week's US government Fourth National Climate Assessment, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) special report released in October. Both of these offered a rather grim outlook on the health of the planet, and the 2018 Emissions Gap Report does little to buck the trend.

"If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation," says UN Environment Deputy Executive Director Joyce Msuya. "The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we've seen – governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We're feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach."

According to the team's analysis, current trends will likely lead to global warming of around 3° C (5.4 F) by the end of the century, from which point temperatures will continue to rise. Key to this is that after stalling for three years, global emissions reached historic levels in 2017 and are showing no signs of abating. The authors claim the emissions gap is now larger than ever, and that only 57 countries are on track to reach peak emissions (and then begin to decrease) by 2030.

But it's not all doom and gloom. The report also offers some insights into how the planet can be set on a healthier path, pointing to an increasing commitment to climate action from governments around the world, as well as education institutions and the private sector. With that said, the authors make no bones about the task at hand, concluding that nations around the world must triple their current efforts in order to meet the 2° C target.

"When governments embrace fiscal policy measures to subsidize low-emission alternatives and tax fossil fuels, they can stimulate the right investments in the energy sector and significantly reduce carbon emissions." said Jian Liu, UN Environment's Chief Scientist. "Thankfully, the potential of using fiscal policy as an incentive is increasingly recognized, with 51 carbon pricing initiatives now in place or scheduled, covering roughly 15 percent of global emissions. If all fossil fuel subsidies were phased out, global carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10 percent by 2030. Setting the right carbon price is also essential. At US$70 per ton of CO2, emission reductions of up to 40 percent are possible in some countries."

The video below highlights some of the report's key findings.

Source: UN Environment

Mind the Gap - Temperatures Rising

9 comments
watersworm
For climate, it' CO2 concentration inteh atmosphere, not emissions that is important. And with my special (recycled) crystal ball, i am sure to predict an increase in CO2 concentration next (end of) november (2019) +2,5 ppm (parties per MILLION) +/- 1,2. Now you know the Nobel prize to come (Peace, not Physics)
Subtle
At some 400 ppm the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is on the low side--geologically speaking. Down to 150 and plant life becomes threatened, which threatens all life, as we know it, on the planet. Authoritarian forces wanting big government have backed the wrong horse.
Robert in Vancouver
According to gov't and the UN the only way to save the planet is to increase taxes more and more. Meanwhile, none of the predictions made by climate change 'scientists' ever come true. Seems like it's all just a money making scheme for gov't and insiders like Al Gore.
ljaques
Yet another OHMIGODWEREALLGONNADIEAGAIN report from the Left. What a surprise! I would much rather swap from coal fired power to nuclear power, but those same Leftists won't have it. Sounds kinda like the Caravaners turning down two consecutive offers of asylum for a lost hope in the USA. This is all agenda, folks. There is no climate crisis, there is only a slowing money train into the Leftist agenda machine. Those same folks brought us the high CO, CO2, terpenes, etc. into the atmosphere from the fires caused due to their agenda to curtail any logging or forestry management. Talk about =misled=... And why aren't these folks making and transporting good soils to Brazil so the farmers there don't slash and burn all that rainforest? They only get a year or two from the rainforest soil before they have to move on. Why isn't this happening? It's not a money-making portion of their agenda.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
A glance at the atmospheric absorption spectrum will reveal that humidification of the dessert is the big culprit. The six micron water band sits right on top of the blackbody curve of the equatorial desserts.
bwana4swahili
Mother Nature will be the ultimate judge in the climate change 'debate'! If extinction is our future, so be it. However, I very much doubt we'll go extinct BUT the world population may take a serious hit which is a BIG plus!! The Earth can easily support a 2-3 billion people...
aksdad
For the misinformed, the earth can easily support 7.7 billion people because it's already doing it. And the population is still growing, not shrinking, so obviously a drastic population reduction from lack of resources or "global warming" isn't a plausible hypothesis. In fact the earth can easily support 10 or 11 billion which is what many statisticians think will be the peak. It's a good bet that it can support much more than that. Technological innovation for the win.
christopher
LOL - we are adding a quarter of a million new humans to our planet EVERY DAY. All of them want to eat, stay warm, move around, and reproduce. New people vastly outweigh the efforts of everyone who cares about emissions. That's a mighty big elephant in the room. When we dig up the last drop of oil, and burn the last nugget of coal - then the emissions will stop (except by then it will be too late, because we will have already cut down the last forest to install PV, so there will be no trees left to absorb the CO2...)
Johannes
Watersworm – CO2 in atmosphere is currently over 400 ppm from a pre-industrial level around 280 ppm. If 400 ppm was your blood alcohol content, you’d now be getting close to DUI. Subtle – “Geologically speaking” doesn’t really cut it when we’re living in the present day, not some past era when variations in climate only made life uncomfortable for non-humans. Robo – If you think it’s just a government/UN/Al Gore conspiracy to take your money, read some of the oil company reports from the 1970s on the effects of global warming. Ljaques – Mate, the earth doesn’t care what your politics are, it’s warming anyway. Pull your head out… Douglas etc – what are “equatorial desserts”? Something you eat after main course? Bwana4swahili – Yes, earth can support 2-3 billion people, but it’s now at over 7.5 billion and likely to top out at around 11 billion. That’s sustainable, but under much different conditions to those we “enjoy” in industrialised countries. Aksdad – technological innovation might make a difference, but at 11 billion, our descendants will need to be a lot more frugal with resources than we have been. Christopher – so basically we can’t afford to extract the last drop of oil or burn the last of the coal.