Global carbon emissions will reach record levels in 2019 but will have grown at a slower pace, according to a study released today on the occasion of the COP25 climate summit in Madrid.
Fossil fuel burning emissions are expected to increase 0.6% this year, to a record nearly 37,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), compared to 1.5% growth in 2017 and 2, 1% in 2018.
The study notes that the decline in coal combustion in Europe and the United States and its lower growth in India and China this year is offset by increased use of natural gas and oil worldwide.
The study, by the English universities of East Anglia and Exeter, the American one at Stanford and the Global Carbon Project, is published this Wednesday in Nature Climate Change, Earth System Science Data and Environmental Research Letters.
Natural gas produces the largest growth of fossil fuel emissions in 2019, with an expected increase of 2.6%, while transport oil is also upward with an estimated 0.9% increase, compared to the 0.9% drop in coal burning.
This year the emissions will probably be 4% higher than in 2015, when the Paris climate agreement was negotiated, the authors point out.
On the occasion of COP25, the researchers ask governments to support measures aimed at eliminating the use of fossil fuels and a greater and faster deployment of renewable energy and low carbon technologies.
"If the factors that drive the increase in emissions are not quickly addressed, the ability of the world to change towards a road compatible with (warming up) of 1.5º or below 2º will be limited," the objective of the Paris climate agreement, according to Pierre Friedlingstein of the University of Exeter.
"The science is clear, CO2 emissions must be reduced to net zero globally to stop any significant global warming," said the academic.
According to data from the Global Carbon Project, which will be presented in Madrid, the total CO2 emissions due to human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels and the change in land use, will reach 43.1 billion tons in 2019.
45% of global fossil fuel emissions come from the energy sector, mainly heating and electricity; industry, such as metallurgy or chemistry, contributes 22%; 20% land transport, by sea and air nationwide and 3.7% international.
The other 10% corresponds to buildings, agriculture, fisheries and the defense sector, the authors point out.
Despite the expected fall in coal consumption, this remains the main pollutant, with 40% of total fossil fuel emissions, and China, whose emissions are estimated to grow 2.6% in 2019, is the first ore consumer, with 50% of the world as a whole.
In the European Union, emissions are expected to decrease by 1.7% this year, with an expected 10% reduction in those from coal use. On the other hand, the consumption of diesel and aviation kerosene continues to increase, which will lead to an increase in emissions of petroleum products of 0.5%.
United States emissions should be reduced by 1.7% and coal-based emissions should be reduced by 10%, as this mineral is being displaced by gas and, to a lesser extent, by solar and wind energy.
In India, emissions are expected to rise 1.8%, less than in 2018, and the report highlights that the country's economy has slowed down "significantly", which has affected the consumption of coal, oil and cement production .
Emissions "per capita" in rich countries "remain disproportionately high," although some have made "substantial progress" in reducing them.
Worldwide, each person emits about 4.8 tons of carbon dioxide per year. But if the detail is analyzed, each American is responsible, on average, for more than three and a half times that amount.
The European Union is one of the success stories, as 'per capita' emissions have been reduced by about 1% per year, but that achievement is offset by figures from countries such as China, whose 'per capita' pollution of Carbon dioxide has grown "to rival and even exceed" those of community partners.
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