Science

Carbon Emission Stalls For Three Consecutive Years

By Christie Abagon , Nov 15, 2016 02:24 AM EST
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A new analysis published by the Global Carbon Project - an international group of scientists and think tanks - shows that global emissions of carbon dioxide did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly this year.  This stall in emission is largely due to the slowdown in coal consumption.

U.S. And China Are The World's Largest Carbon Emitters

This study, which is conducted by 67 researchers from an army of institutions, shows that the carbon emission decline can be attributed to less coal burning. There is a huge decline in emissions by China and the United States, the two largest emitters. China's carbon emission declined by 0.7 percent in 2015 and is forecast to see an additional 0.5 percent decline in 2016. U.S. emissions are falling even faster at 2.6 percent in 2015 and are expected to fall an additional 1.7 percent this year.

Not Everyone Is Following Suit In Decreasing Carbon Emisssion

However, there is still a strong carbon emission growth in India.  In 2015, the country's emission was estimated to be at 5.2 percent.  This means that there is still slightly more than 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide which was expected to have been emitted in 2016 from fossil fuel use and industrial activity. The real question is whether these three flat years suggest that the world is beginning to peak its emissions and bring them down again, which will be necessary if there is any hope of limiting warming to widely embraced international targets such as 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Glen Peters, one of the contributors to the research and a scientist at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo in Norway said: "I'd certainly give it five or more years before I'd say it's a peak, but certainly you would say, even leveling out, like we have over the last three years, is a big surprise. If you'd stood back three years ago, we wouldn't have been expecting this. So it's certainly good news."

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