December 11, 2018

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018

And promising technological advances have sometimes been offset by market forces, Dr. Jackson said: “There are dozens of models of electric cars slated to come out in the next five years, so that’s great news. And on the other hand, in the U.S. we have most of the major car manufacturers saying they’re going to get out of the sedan business and build S.U.V.s and trucks.”

The world’s largest emitter is still China, which produces 27 percent of global carbon emissions, according to the report. The United States accounts for 15 percent of emissions, the European Union 10 percent and India 7 percent.

China’s emissions are projected to rise 4.7 percent in 2018, the report said. The country is stimulating manufacturing to counterbalance its slowing economy, allowing more coal-based manufacturing that it had avoided in the past, Dr. Jackson said.

United States emissions are expected to rise 2.5 percent this year after several years of declines, and despite a shift away from coal toward cleaner sources of energy. Dr. Jackson attributed part of the increase to a colder-than-normal winter in some parts of the country and a hotter summer in other parts, which inflated demand for heating and cooling.

In India, a projected emissions increase of 6.3 percent is linked to the country’s effort to provide electricity to 300 million people who currently lack it.

The earth has already warmed 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (one degree Celsius) above preindustrial levels. In the United States, the effects of that warming could be seen this year across the country, from the wildfires that raged in California to the hurricanes that buffeted the Southeast. Although researchers cannot say that the warming climate caused the individual weather events, they can say that it created conditions that increased the likelihood of the events.

Last year, extreme weather disasters cost the United States a record $306 billion.

The new studies were issued as delegates from nearly 200 countries were gathering in Poland to debate their next steps under the Paris climate agreement. But the increasing global emissions are putting the goals of the Paris accord — to limit warming to well below two degrees Celsius — further out of reach, the researchers warned.

“There are some glimmers of hope in this, but it’s not good news,” Dr. Jackson said. But he said there were still reasons for optimism. “Coal use has dropped 40 percent in the United States, replaced by natural gas and renewables. That’s saving lives as well as helping the climate problem.”

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

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