Global carbon dioxide emissions are accelerating at their fastest pace in seven years and hit a record high in 2018, despite pledges by nearly 200 countries to limit global warming to well below 2C. Carbon emissions rose 2.7 percent in 2018 mainly due to emissions growth in China, India and the US, according to research published on Wednesday. The data, published simultaneously in the scientific journals Nature, Earth System Science Data, and Environmental Research Letters, come as the annual UN climate talks are under way in Katowice, Poland.
The rise in emissions is a dramatic change from recent years, and underscores how challenging it will be for countries to meet the commitments of the 2015 Paris climate accord, a global pact to combat climate change. It dashes the hopes of many economists who had argued that economic growth was “decoupling” from global emissions growth, back when emissions appeared to be flattening out.
After a plateau in global emissions from 2014-16, and an increase of 1.6 percent in 2017, the rise this year is largely due to growth in fossil fuel consumption, according to Glen Peters, research director at the Cicero Centre for International Climate Research in Oslo.