Fossil fuel burning set to hit record high in 2017, scientists warn

Fossil fuel burning set to hit record high in 2017, scientists warn

SOURCE: The Global Carbon Project, The Guardian, Associated Press, Earth System Science Data (PDF) DATE: November 13, 2017 SNIP: The burning of fossil fuels around the world is set to hit a record high in 2017, climate scientists have warned, following three years of flat growth that raised hopes that a peak in global emissions had been reached. The expected jump in the carbon emissions that drive global warming is a “giant leap backwards for humankind”, according to some scientists. However, other experts said they were not alarmed, saying fluctuations in emissions are to be expected and that big polluters such as China are acting to cut emissions. Global emissions need to reach their peak by 2020 and then start falling quickly in order to have a realistic chance of keeping global warming below the 2C danger limit, according to leading scientists. Whether the anticipated increase in CO2 emissions in 2017 is just a blip that is followed by a falling trend, or is the start of a worrying upward trend, remains to be seen. Estimates for 2017 put it at about 40.8 billion tons (37 billion metric tons). Sixty years ago , the world spewed only 9.2 billion tons (8.3 billion metric tons). “It’s a bit staggering,” said co-author Ralph Keeling, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist, noting in an email that levels have increased fourfold since he was born in the 1950s. “We race headlong into the unknown.” The ability to monitor emissions quickly and accurately is of growing importance. The Paris agreement is based on voluntary cuts by nations, and without verification that pledges have been...
Natural gas emissions will blow Europe’s carbon budget at current levels

Natural gas emissions will blow Europe’s carbon budget at current levels

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 7, 2017 SNIP: Governments have drastically underestimated methane emissions from natural gas and will miss the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2C unless they urgently scale down its use, a major new study has found. Continuing natural gas emissions at present levels will add 0.6C to global warming and, with other fossil fuel use, exhaust Europe’s carbon budget – the amount it can safely and fairly emit – in less than a decade, says the report (PDF) by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. It concludes that Europe must phase out all fossil fuels including gas by 2035 and decrease emissions by 12% per year – far beyond its current ambitions – to keep to the Paris 2C...
There’s a huge gap between the Paris climate change goals and reality

There’s a huge gap between the Paris climate change goals and reality

SOURCE: Vox DATE: October 31, 2017 SNIP: In 2015 in Paris, the countries of the world agreed to hold the rise in global average temperatures to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” How’s that going? The unavoidably grim answer: not well, and not just because President Donald Trump has promised to pull the United States out of the accord. Every year, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) releases an “Emissions Gap” report, on the remaining disparity between the world’s stated ambitions on climate and the actions it is currently taking. The 2017 edition of the report is out a week before the next round of international climate talks in Bonn, Germany. And it reports that the gap remains … substantial. Collectively, the carbon reductions pledged by the world’s countries in Paris are woefully inadequate. Even assuming all countries fulfill their pledges, it would account for only about a third of the needed emission reductions to get to 2...
Prove Paris was more than paper promises

Prove Paris was more than paper promises

SOURCE: Nature DATE: Aug 1, 2017 SNIP: Beyond US President Donald Trump’s decision in June to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a more profound challenge to the global climate pact is emerging. No major advanced industrialized country is on track to meet its pledges to control the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change. Wishful thinking and bravado are eclipsing reality. Countries in the European Union are struggling to increase energy efficiency and renewable power to the levels that they claimed they would. Japan promised cuts in emissions to match those of its peers, but meeting the goals will cost more than the country is willing to pay. Even without Trump’s attempts to roll back federal climate policy, the United States is shifting its economy to clean energy too...
Warming ponds could accelerate climate change

Warming ponds could accelerate climate change

SOURCE: Phys.org DATE: February 20, 2017 SNIP: Rising temperatures could accelerate climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide stored in ponds and increasing the methane they release, new research shows. The scientists experimentally warmed an array of ponds over seven years by 4-5ºC and studied the impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and rates of metabolism. Changes observed after the first year became “amplified” over a longer period, according to the study by the University of Exeter and Queen Mary University of London. After seven years, a pond’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) was reduced by almost half, while methane release almost doubled. Lakes and ponds cover about 4% of Earth’s surface (excluding areas covered by glaciers and ice sheets) but they are disproportionately large sources of methane and CO2 to the atmosphere. Ponds of less than one square metre are responsible for releasing about 40% of all methane emissions from inland waters. “Our findings show that warming can fundamentally alter the carbon balance of small ponds over a number of years, reducing their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and increasing emissions of methane. “This could ultimately accelerate climate...