Global carbon emissions reached record high in 2017, says UN agency

Carbon emissions reached a record high in 2017, increasing for the first time in four years, according to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

The dismal numbers have prompted the organization to encourage countries to triple their efforts to deliver on the Paris Agreement. The 2015 agreement aims to combat the threats of climate change with a global effort to keep the global temperature rise this century to below 2 degrees Celsius.

Total annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 reached 53.5 Gigatons, a 0.7 Gigaton increase from the year prior, the agency reported last week. But to keep on track with the goals set out by the Paris Agreement, emissions need to reduce by 25% to 55% by 2030, it said.

“The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we’ve seen, governments need to move faster and with greater urgency,” UNEP’s deputy executive director Joyce Msuya said in the report. “We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach.”

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report with a similar message. It noted that only 57 countries representing 60 per cent global emissions are on track to be where they need to be to reduce emissions.

President Donald Trump has announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Accord. Despite scientific evidence pointing to CO2’s role in the rising global temperatures, President Trump has gone back and forth in his statements on climate change.

He first claimed climate change is a hoax, then said it’s legitimate but not as severe or urgent a matter as scientists claim. Earlier this week the U.S. president said he didn’t believe a U.S. Federal Government study which showed evidence of humans’ role in climate change, CNN reported.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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