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2pc rise in CO2 termed giant leap backwards for humankind

2pc rise in CO2 termed giant leap backwards for humankind

BONN: The carbon dioxide emissions that drive global warming, flat since 2014, are set to rise two per cent this year, dashing hopes they had peaked, scientists repo­rted at UN climate talks on Monday.

“This is very disappointing,” said Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia and lead author of a major study detailing the findings.

“With global CO2 emissions from human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), let alone 1.5 C.” The 196-nation Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, calls for capping global warming at 2 C below pre-industrial levels.

With the planet out of kilter after only one degree of warming — enough to amplify deadly heatwaves, droughts, and superstorms — the treaty also vows to explore the feasibility of holding the line at 1.5 C.

Earth is overheating due to the burning of oil, gas and especially coal to power the global economy. Deforestation also plays a critical role. “The news that emissions are rising after a three-year hiatus is a giant leap backward for humankind,” said Amy Luers, a climate policy advisor to Barack Obama and executive director of Future Earth, which co-sponsored the research.

This year’s climate summit is presided by Fiji, one of dozens of small island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising seas engorged by warmer water and melt-off from ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica.

Thousands of diplomats in Bonn are negotiating the “rulebook” for the Paris pact, which goes into effect in 2020.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017

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