Global CO2 Emissions Hit Record High Despite Paris Climate Accord

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2017 to a record-setting 32.5 gigatonnes, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Emissions rose after stalling for three years in a row, IEA reported. The Paris climate accord was signed by nearly 200 countries in 2015, which went into effect a year later. One year into the Paris accord, and emissions are on the rise.

IEA’s report echoes findings published by the Global Carbon Project late last year, predicting global emissions would rise 2 percent. The group projected emissions to rise again in 2018.

CO2 emissions rose because of a 2.1 percent increase in global energy demand, 70 percent of which was met by fossil fuels, especially natural gas and coal-fired electricity. China’s 6 percent jump in electricity demand was met by coal, IEA reported.

Meanwhile, U.S. emissions continued to fall “mainly because of higher deployment of renewables,” IEA reported on Thursday. U.K. emissions also fell, but European Union emissions grew last year, a no doubt awkward development for European leaders who chastised President Donald Trump for leaving the Paris accord.

A major reason emissions rose was because the world economy grew 3.7 percent last year. Higher economic growth means more emissions, despite claims that economic growth had begun to “decouple” from greenhouse gas emissions.

With 81 percent of the world’s energy being met with fossil fuels, any increase in economic activity necessitates more emissions. IEA issued a dire warning on 2017’s jump in emissions.

“The growth in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 is a strong warning for global efforts to combat climate change, and demonstrates that current efforts are insufficient to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” IEA warned.


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