Paris climate deal: world not on track to meet goal amid continuous emissions

(The Guardian, 4 Dec 2019) Slowdown this year in rising greenhouse gases does not negate long-term trend, finds carbon budget analysis.

Carbon dioxide emissions rose weakly this year as the use of coal declined but natural gas took up the slack, a comprehensive study of the global “carbon budget” has found.

The rise in emissions was much smaller than in the last two years, but the continued increase means the world is still far from being on track to meet the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change, which would require emissions to peak then fall rapidly to reach net-zero by mid-century.

Emissions for this year will be 4% higher than those in 2015, when the Paris agreement was signed. Governments are meeting this week and next in Madrid to hammer out some of the final details for implementing the Paris deal and start work on new commitments to cut emissions by 2030. But the new report shows the increasing difficulty of that task.

Experts said it was much too early to take the slight slowdown in emissions growth this year as a sign the world was turning a corner in the climate emergency.

Joeri Rogelj, a lecturer in climate change at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said: “CO2 emissions wiggle from year to year, but it is the long-term trend that is important. The small slowdown this year is really nothing to be overly enthusiastic about. If no structural change underlies this slowdown, science tells us that emissions will simply gradually continue to increase on average.”

Such structural changes could include investment in renewable energy, low-carbon infrastructure, and plans to make buildings more energy efficient. “As long as global CO2 emissions are not embarking on a clear downward trajectory it is clear that we are not only continuing to make climate change worse, we’re doing it at a pace faster than ever before,” said Rogel

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The Guardian, 4 Dec 2019: Paris climate deal: world not on track to meet goal amid continuous emissions