Tackling climate change could save millions of lives, report says

After three years of nearly no growth, carbon emissions from fossil fuels and industry are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, according to an annual report by the Global Carbon Project, an worldwide scientific collaboration of academics, governments and industry that tracks emissions of greenhouse gases.

India is the fourth highest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, accounting for 7 per cent of global emissions in 2017, a study said on Wednesday.

A separate study found that Greenland's ice sheet was melting at its fastest rate for at least 350 years, which could lead to a rapid increase in sea levels.

Lead researcher for the study, Professor Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, said the projected increase in emissions put the planet on a trajectory for global warming "that is now well beyond 1.5C".

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 report calls on countries to consider health in analyzing the cost-effectiveness of climate change mitigation.

While the largest changes this year came from China and India, Democrats are urging the United States to play their part in decreasing emissions. The US accounts for 15% and its emissions are estimated to rise 2.5% this year "after several years in decline".

The second year in a row of growing carbon emissions is a "big worry", New Zealand's leading carbon cycle expert says.

The report attributes the three-year pause largely to declines in coal use in China, which was temporarily investing less into energy-intensive construction projects, and the United States, thanks to a shift in natural gas, solar and wind power.

The biggest emissions story in 2018, though, appears to be China, the world's single-largest emitting country, which grew its output of planet-warming gases by almost half a billion tons, researchers estimate. However, emissions were stable for the three years before that.

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.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at the United Nations' COP24 climate change conference in the southern Polish city of Katowice on Tuesday. "Fossil energy needs to be phased out and efforts to decarbonise need to be expanded throughout the economy". Lots of places in the USA have already woken up to the fact that renewable technology has a market for it, and a lot of U.S. states and cities have made their own pledges. "Global CO2 emissions must start to fall from 2020 if we are to meet the temperature goals of the Paris agreement, but this is within our grasp", she said.

  • Joey Payne