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Warning signs for stabilizing global CO2 emissions

Jackson, RB, C Le Quéré, RM Andrew, JG Canadell, GP Peters, J Roy and L Wu
Environmental Research Letters
Journal Volume/Pages: 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and industry comprise ∼90% of all CO2 emissions from human activities. For the last three years, such emissions were stable, despite continuing growth in the global economy. Many positive trends contributed to this unique hiatus, including reduced coal use in China and elsewhere, continuing gains in energy efficiency, and a boom in low-carbon renewables such as wind and solar. However, the temporary hiatus appears to have ended in 2017. For 2017, we project emissions growth of 2.0% (range: 0.8%−3.0%) from 2016 levels (leap-year adjusted), reaching a record 36.8 ± 2Gt CO2. Economic projections suggest further emissions growth in 2018 is likely. Time is running out on our ability to keep global average temperature increases below 2◦C and, even more immediately, anything close to 1.5◦C.

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