China and U.S. greenhouse gas levels to new highs

Steam rises from the brown coal-fired power plant Neurath and Niederaussem operated by RWE in Bergheim on Dec 4 2018

Representatives from all countries took pledge at the Paris Agreement to take action against climate change, particularly by reducing their nations' carbon production and stopping global warming below 2 degree Celsius over pre-industrial levels by end of the century.

Globally, coal-fired power accounts for 40% of Carbon dioxide emissions, and more than two-fifths of the world's electricity.

The research, carried out by the Global Carbon Project (GCP), says that this year's "strong" rise in CO2 levels is projected to be 2.7% as compared to 2017's 1.6%.

"This growth in global Carbon dioxide emissions puts the goals set out in the Paris Agreement in jeopardy", lead author Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre of Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, said in a statement.

The trend indicates that if they fail to cut their emissions more drastically by 2020, the burden of mitigation will fall on developing countries, including India, post-2020 despite their much lower per capita emission as compared to the United States and 28 European Union (EU) nations.

The U.S. accounts for 15 percent of emissions. "With this year's growth in emissions, it looks like the peak is not yet in sight".

The emission growth in the USA was driven partly by weather, while India's emissions have continued to rise in line with a booming economy. "Efforts to decarbonise need to be expanded throughout the economy".

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In nations where emissions are still rising, often in response to economic growth and improved living standards, the challenges are often greater.

Encouragingly the report places the blame on weather conditions requiring more heating in the winter and cooling in the summer and predicts United States emissions will decline again in 2019, with cheap gas, wind and solar set to continue to displace coal power.

The article has also been co-signed by more than 100 figures from politics, business and civil society, and comes as negotiators at the COP24 Summit in Katowice thrash out plans to try and strengthen Paris Agreement pledges before 2020. After years of declines, emissions are projected to have increased approximately 2.5 percent this year.

"Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption", Guterres said.

"While there has been positive progress on clean energy and electric vehicles, this is now too small to impact the onward march of fossil fuels". The EU as a region of countries ranks third.

In broad-brush terms, the reason for 2018's spike in emissions boils down to this: Humans are developing renewable energy sources - and adopting energy-conserving technologies - at a fast pace, but we're increasing our consumption of fossil fuels even faster.

Oil and gas use have grown nearly unabated over the last decade.

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