Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

coal

Climate scientists and activists are raising alarm about record-high levels of carbon emissions, detailed in a report released Wednesday. (Photo: International Accountability Project/Flickr/cc)

Record-High Carbon Emissions Show 'We Are Speeding Towards the Precipice of Irrevocable Climate Chaos'

"Brutal" new research offers a global "reality check" as world leaders discuss Paris accord goals at COP24

Jessica Corbett

As world leaders are meeting at the COP24 in Poland to discuss how to achieve goals outlined in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, scientists and activists are raising alarm about "brutal" new research published by the Global Carbon Project on Wednesday which offers the international community a "reality check" by showing that carbon emissions will hit a record high this year.

"We've got a LOT of work to do folks. After flat-lining for 3 years, CO2 emissions have now ticked up two years straight," tweeted Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, linking to the Washington Post's report on the new data. Mann also called for electing politicians willing to take the urgent actions that experts increasingly warn are needed to avert global catastrophe. 

As the Post summarized, according to the research:

Between 2014 and 2016, emissions remained largely flat, leading to hopes that the world was beginning to turn a corner. Those hopes have been dashed. In 2017, global emissions grew 1.6 percent. The rise in 2018 is projected to be 2.7 percent.

The expected increase, which would bring fossil fuel and industrial emissions to a record high of 37.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, is being driven by nearly 5 percent emissions growth in China and more than 6 percent in India, researchers estimated, along with growth in many other nations throughout the world. Emissions by the United States grew 2.5 percent, while emissions by the European Union declined by just under 1 percent.

While the surge in the U.S. was driven partly by a cold winter and hot summer—which led to an increased use of heating and air conditioning—China's rise was notably fueled by investment in coal-powered manufacturing. Researchers say reversing this trend will require climate-friendly reforms to transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture.

global carbon emissions

"This is terrible news," Andrew Jones, co-director of Climate Interactive, told the Associated Press about the project's findings. "Every year that we delay serious climate action, the Paris goals become difficult to meet."

The Paris agreement—which President Donald Trump has vowed to withdraw from, making the United States the only nation on the planet that doesn't support the international accord—aims to keep "global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

"This is the latest and most alarming warning to the world that we are speeding towards the precipice of irrevocable climate chaos. Sadly, President Trump doesn't care. But if he won't act, other leaders must."
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch

Noting that the Trump administration has turned its back on the accord and consistently worked to roll back climate regulations in favor of polluting industries, Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter called on elected officials at lower levels of the U.S. government to take action to curb planet-warming emissions.

"This is the latest and most alarming warning to the world that we are speeding towards the precipice of irrevocable climate chaos. Sadly, President Trump doesn't care. But if he won't act, other leaders must," Hauter said in a statement, responding to the new research.

"It's time for the governors of our country to adequately address this impending climate crisis by enacting immediate moratoria on all new fossil fuel development," she added. "This is the bold, urgent action that the latest science calls for, and the response that our future generations are owed."

The new data follows a World Meteorological Organization report from November that found atmospheric concentrations of the top three greenhouse gases driving global warming—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—have hit record high levels, which provoked warnings that "without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Tlaib Leads Call for Biden to Take 'Commonsense Steps' to Aid Afghan Evacuees

"Our country has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe. Now is the time to continue that tradition and stand beside Afghan evacuees in need."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Huge Win': Green Groups Applaud Biden Move to Protect Minnesota Watershed

"You don't allow America's most toxic industry next to America's most popular wilderness," said one environmental campaigner.

Brett Wilkins ·


Taking Aim at Predatory Equity Firms, Warren Leads Bill to 'Stop Wall Street Looting'

"Now is the time," asserted Sen. Bernie Sanders, "to end Wall Street's greed, protect workers, and create an economy that works for everyone, not just the 1%."

Brett Wilkins ·


Arizona Groups Demand Sinema 'Stop Obstructing' on Medicare Expansion

The diverse coalition called on the Democratic senator to back "bold drug pricing reform" and "critical improvements to Medicare's coverage" in the reconciliation package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Should Be a No-Brainer': Biden Pushed to Back Long-Term Child Tax Credit Extension

"Putting money in the pockets of those who need it most is good for the children and families receiving it, good for local businesses, and helps protect this fragile economic recovery."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo