“Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018”
CO2 emissions are up 2.7% this year, as opposed to a 1.6% rise last year.
The dire consequences of this, such as widespread food shortages, increased wildfires, extensive coastal flooding and population displacement may arrive as early as 2030. These consequences were not scheduled to arrive until later in the century, but the increased CO2 levels mean we will experience them earlier than expected.
This post is based on a Dec 5, 2018 article in the New York Times. Below are a few of the main points made in the article.
“Worldwide, carbon emissions are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, according to the new research, which was published by the Global Carbon Project, a group of 100 scientists from more than 50 academic and research institutions and one of the few organizations to comprehensively examine global emissions numbers. Emissions rose 1.6 percent last year, the researchers said, ending a three-year plateau.”
“Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are growing at an accelerating pace this year, researchers said Wednesday, putting the world on track to face some of the most severe consequences of global warming sooner than expected.”
“Scientists described the quickening rate of carbon dioxide emissions in stark terms, comparing it to a “speeding freight train” and laying part of the blame on an unexpected surge in the appetite for oil as people around the world not only buy more cars but also drive them farther than in the past — more than offsetting any gains from the spread of electric vehicles.”
“We’ve seen oil use go up five years in a row,” said Rob Jackson, a professor of earth system science at Stanford and an author of one of two studies published Wednesday. “That’s really surprising.”
The new report comes as delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Poland to debate their next steps under the Paris climate agreement. Many nations haven’t been meeting their self-imposed targets.
The new assessment is the third major scientific report in recent months to send a message that the world is failing to make sufficient progress to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Last month the White House published findings by 13 federal agencies predicting that global warming could knock hundreds of billions of dollars off the size of the American economy by century’s end, particularly by disrupting trade and agriculture. And in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations scientific group, issued an alarming report warning that emissions are rising at a rate that will open the door to widespread food shortages, wildfires, coastal flooding and population displacement by 2040.
As part of the latest report, scientists wrote Wednesday in the journal Nature that the recent rise in global emissions, combined with other factors such as natural temperature fluctuations, could bring those dire consequences a decade sooner, by 2030.
“For those of us that work in this space, seeing the rates of emissions accelerate is deeply dismaying, and it confirms the very clear lack of systemic action and change that we’re seeing across many lines of state, national and global organization,” said Sarah E. Myhre, a research associate at the University of Washington who was not involved in the studies.
The picture at the top of this page is the Portland Head Light,
not far from Portland Maine.