Global carbon emissions are projected to reach an all-time high in 2018, according to a new report from the Global Carbon Project. For the prior three years, increases in carbon emissions had slowed considerably, raising hopes that they could already be peaking before a decline. Instead, they project a 2.7 percent rise in total emissions, compared to a 1.6 percent increase last year, according to The Huffington Post.
“This growth in global CO2 emissions puts the goals set out in the Paris Agreement in jeopardy,” according to the report’s lead author, Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre of Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.
The researchers found that an increase in coal use is driving the increase, primarily in India and China. The United States saw the largest decline in coal energy, thanks to the shuttering of over 250 coal plants since 2010. Still, the US also saw a 2.5 percent emissions increase overall, due to oil use and cooling and heating demands.
The study projects that emissions from the EU will decline 0.7 percent this year.
China, India, and the US are also among the largest overall emitters of carbon, suggesting the the biggest contributors are still increasing their output. It also means these percentages represent a larger total amount of carbon added to the global total.
In India and China, emissions have risen sharply since 1990, when the US was by far the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, followed by Russia.
The authors of the report wrote Wednesday in The Conversation that renewable energy is growing sufficiently to meet Paris agreement targets, but without a corresponding decline in emissions from fossil fuels.
“Globally, renewable energy (solar, wind, and biofuels) is growing at an extraordinary rate, with a doubling of the global capacity every four years,” they said. “A continuation and acceleration of this trend is consistent with the requirements of the Paris Agreement. However, the same scenarios also call for the equally rapid decline in emissions from fossil fuels, something we do not see in our latest data presented here.”
Le Quéré will answer questions about the report at the climate conference in Poland this week.
The new report follows another study from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was published in October, saying the world only has about 12 years to limit emissions in order to keep temperature increases limited to the 1.5 degrees Celsius called for in the Paris agreement.