Increasing fossil fuel use push carbon emissions to record high

‘Emissions have risen for a second year after three years of little-to-no growth’, Kevin O’Sullivan writes in the Irish Times. As he states: ‘Increasing coal, oil and gas use are pushing global carbon emissions to an all-time high, climate scientists have told the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland’

Clodagh Daly, one of our spokespersons, is present at the UN climate talks in Katowice now – and is also mentioned in the article. The article states that:

‘A projected rise in global emissions of more than 2 per cent has been driven by “a solid growth in coal use for the second year in a row, and sustained growth in oil and gas use”, according to the Global Carbon Project and researchers at the University of East Anglia.’

‘In spite of this, energy trends are changing and “there is still time to address climate change if efforts to curb emissions rapidly expand in all sectors of the world economy”, the researchers confirm.
The new data indicate global emissions from burning fossil fuels are expected to reach 37.1 billion tons of CO2 for 2018. Emissions have now risen for a second year, after three years of little-to-no growth from 2014 to 2016. The rise this year is projected to be 2.7 per cent.’

‘The 10 biggest emitters are China, the US, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. The EU as a whole region of countries ranks third.’

Researcher Professor Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, is quoted:

“Emissions need to peak and rapidly decrease to address climate change. With this year’s growth in emissions, it looks like the peak is not yet in sight.”

“To limit global warming to the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5 degrees, CO2 emissions would need to decline by 50 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by around 2050. We are a long way from this and much more needs to be done, because if countries stick to the commitments they have already made, we are on track to see 3 degrees.”

Reporting on the climate talk proceedings, O’Sullivan adds that:

‘Meanwhile, Clodagh Daly of Friends of the Irish Environment outlined details at the summit of the legal challenge being brought by Climate Case Ireland against the Irish Government, based on its duty “to protect us from harm by complying with its legal obligations, including human rights law and constitutional law”. The case is due to be heard in January.’

‘At a press conference highlighting court actions being pursued to force states to deliver on emission commitments, she said the challenge was to the Government’s approval of its National Mitigation Plan, on the basis that “the decision was inconsistent with Ireland’s national, EU and international obligations”. She cited Climate Change Advisory Council criticism of the plan; that it does not put Ireland on a pathway to a low-carbon transition.’

Speaking on the Irish case in closer detail, the article states that:

‘The Republic had the third-highest level of carbon emissions per capita in Europe, Ms Duffy said, while the Government was failing to even come close to meeting inadequate EU targets. It had repeatedly agreed developed countries such as Ireland must do their fair share in leading the way to a low-carbon economy by reducing emissions.
But the EPA had predicted Ireland’s emissions would actually increase by 11-12 per cent over the period 1990-2030. “We believe that actions speak louder than words. Ireland may be a small country, but we contribute disproportionately to climate change, and our government is putting lives at risk.”’

‘Bold, transformative policies were needed across all sectors of the economy, Ms Daly said. “We cannot hide behind other countries’ emissions, we need to take action right now. The oceans are rising, and so are we.”’