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Carbon emissions down, but carbon dioxide levels still rampant!

By Dave Armstrong - 22 Nov 2016 10:15:0 GMT
Carbon emissions down, but carbon dioxide levels still rampant!

This Chinese achievement brings into focus the US/China bilateral agreement after Paris, but can all of these big polluters reduce their emissions? This infographic is worth reading, perhaps better in its vertical format on the original site.Global Carbon Budget image; Credit: © www.uae.ac.uk

Why haven’t we been moaning on about the reaction to climate change, following the political events surrounding the Paris Agreement? The situation is confused. This was our situation last year: with the WMO providing some good news, but where have we got to now? We have no idea what to comment, and now we’ve all been Trumped. While China, the nation most likely to, has spectacularly reduced emissions because of the reduction in coal burning, some countries may have confirmed their commitment to reducing these fossil technologies, but remained indecisive as to how they intend to continue. The optimism is based on 3 years of slow-down, such as the projected figure of only 0.2% rise in emissions for this year, compared with a rampant 2.3% in 2013.Corinne Le Quéré, of the Global Carbon Project and the University of East Anglia seems positive with This third year of almost no growth in emissions is unprecedented at a time of strong economic growth. This is a great help for tackling climate change but it is not enough. Global emissions now need to decrease rapidly, not just stop growing.

Politicians in democracies are mere puppets, as has been indicated very strongly in recent years. While a small majority in a poll may place an inadequate leader in charge, there is a need for consultation with expert thinkers to reverse any decisions such as those denying the obvious evidence that we have. Climate change is anthropomorphic, and any evidence against that conclusion is far from being conclusive itself. Technological change has given us tools that tell the truth, and this, is a resource which we seem to lack. Scientists tend to argue, like the human species in general, but one individual has so far been able to argue down a majority if his evidence is proven.

To progress on the prevention of more human-based global warming requires education, from the politicians to the workers involved in almost every industry. The UAE yesterday released the information on the Chinese success, based on sound economic growth and raid decommissioning of the coal powered energy industry. People in China are fully aware of the smogs and associated urban deaths that are clearly linked to the burning of fossil fuels. Politics can work on that basis. But what happens when people forget when they had gross pollution and vote for quick fixes and jobs instead of new technologies that require investment?

By 2030, the current Marrakesh meeting hopes to maintain this slight momentum to cut more emissions. The fly in the ointment is that carbon dioxide levels have not reduced their rate of increase. Weak carbon sinks have been creating record highs in CO2 concentrations, both last year and this! So the emissions have not had any effect, despite the stop in their increase.

Sad though that is, we have to grab hold of this optimistic slowing of emissions. If they rise again, then we have global warming of 2oC , 3oC and then much more. There is little chance of the desired but elusive lower rise in temperature that Paris hankered for, unless the magic of renewable energies jumps in to slow that rise in carbon dioxide concentrations. Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Norway comments: Emissions growth in the next few years will depend on whether energy and climate policies can lock in the new trends, and importantly, raise the ambition of emission pledges to be more consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

We can only end with his expert statement. The figures seem irrelevant until nations begin laying down their concrete plans, despite their more-or-less temporary leaders, who have little to worry about in terms of actually putting their plans into action. They simply won’t be there in a few years time. It is down to all of us to make sure these actions are taken. More at Low Growth in Global Carbon Emissions.