Smoke stacks in New Brunswick, Canada, were photographed in 2015. Global carbon emissions are on the rise after holding steady for several years, researchers say.
Tony Webster/Flickr November 13, 20176:05 PM ET
For three years in a row, the world’s carbon emissions were virtually stable — holding steady after decades of growth.
But now they’re on the rise again, which is bad news for efforts to fight climate change, according to a team of researchers who have released a new study on the topic.
Seventy-six scientists from around the world contributed to the Global Carbon Project, or GCP, which released its annual “Carbon Budget” on Monday.
The budget estimates that total global carbon emissions from fossil fuels and industrial sources will rise by 2 percent in 2017. There’s a fair amount of uncertainty in that projection, with possible values from .8 percent to 3 percent — but the researchers are confident it represents an overall rise, fueled in part by changes in the Chinese economy.
The anticipated change is a “big rise,” lead author Corinne Le Quéré tells NPR. “And this is contrary to what is needed in order to tackle climate change.”
It’s a shift from the more hopeful findings from the last few years. From 2014 to 2016, according to the GCP analysis, the rate of emissions was basically flat.