The world is on its way to record-high carbon emissions in 2017, after three straight years in which human-caused emissions appeared to be leveling off, new research shows.
The projected 2 percent increase in emissions this year adds urgency to the UN climate talks this week in Bonn, where 197 countries are negotiating how to implement the 2015 Paris climate agreement to slow global warming.
“There’s not much time left to cut emissions and keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees,” said Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, who led the emissions research presented Monday in Bonn. The aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times. For that to happen, studies have shown that emissions must peak within the next decade and then decline to net zero.
The new figures may be disappointing after hopeful speculation that emissions were already peaking, but not entirely unexpected.