Global carbon dioxide emissions rise even as coal wanes and renewables boom

  • Fossil fuel emissions have climbed for a second straight year, driven by growing energy use
  • In the United States, emissions of carbon dioxide are projected to increase 2.5 percent in 2018 after a decade of declines.
  • Consumption of one fossil fuel, however, is no longer on the rise: coal. The study shows coal consumption in Canada and the United States has dropped by 40 percent since 2005

Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences Read ScienceDaily coverage here

Renewable energy capacity has hit record levels and global coal use may have already peaked. But the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels increased in 2018, and the trend places global warming targets in jeopardy.

The new projections come in a week when international negotiators are gathering in the coal-mining city of Katowice, Poland, to work out the rules for implementing the Paris climate agreement. Under the 2015 accord, hundreds of nations pledged to cut carbon emissions and keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

“We thought, perhaps hoped, emissions had peaked a few years ago,” said Jackson, a professor of Earth system science in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). “After two years of renewed growth, that was wishful thinking.”…

R B Jackson, C Le Quéré, R M Andrew, J G Canadell, J I Korsbakken, Z Liu, G P Peters and B Zheng. Global Energy Growth Is Outpacing Decarbonization. Environmental Research Letters, 2018 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/af303