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Global carbon emissions increase, but rate slows, UEA scientists find

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:38 04 December 2019

UEA scientists say global carbon emmissions have increased, but the rate has slowed. Pic: John Giles/PA.

UEA scientists say global carbon emmissions have increased, but the rate has slowed. Pic: John Giles/PA.

PA Archive/PA Photos

Global carbon emissions are set to have grown more slowly this year, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia - but they have warned stronger action is needed to reverse trends.

Prof Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia.  Picture: UEAProf Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia. Picture: UEA

Research by the UEA, University of Exeter and the Global Carbon Project found emissions from burning fossil fuels are projected to grow by 0.6pc this year to reach almost 37 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

That is down from 1.5pc in 2017 and 2.1pc in 2018.

Experts say the lower rate of growth is due to substantial declines in coal use in the European Union and United States, and slower growth in coal use in China and India compared to recent years.

They said weaker economic growth has also contributed to this trend.

Natural gas has seen the fastest fossil fuel emissions growth in 2019, with a projected increase of 2.6pc.

Oil used in transport is also driving emissions up, with a projected increase of 0.9pc this year, while emissions from coal burning are projected to decrease by 0.9pc.

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Emissions this year are likely to be 4pc higher than in 2015, the year of the UN Paris Agreement.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, Royal Society Research Professor at UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, contributed to this year's analysis.

She said: "Current climate and energy policies are too weak to reverse trends in global emissions.

"Policies have been successful to varying degrees in deploying low-carbon technologies, such as solar, wind and electric vehicles.

But these often add to existing demand for energy rather than displacing technologies that emit CO2, particularly in countries where energy demand is growing. We need stronger policies that are targeted at phasing out the use of fossil fuels."

Globally, around 45pc of fossil CO2 emissions come from the energy sector, mainly electricity and heat production.

Industry, such as metal production, chemicals, and manufacturing, contribute 22pc.

Land transport together with national shipping and aviation are responsible for 20pc, while international shipping and aviation add another 3.7pc.

The remaining 10pc includes additional emissions from sectors such as buildings, agriculture, fishing, and the military.

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