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The world continued to increase the amount of carbon dioxide - heat-trapping gas - it pumped into the atmosphere during 2019, but not as fast as in the previous two years.
According to a published study, a surprise drop in coal use in the United States and Europe helped slow the growth of global carbon dioxide emissions this year, with demand declining in China and India.
The report, presented at the climate summit of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP25) in the Spanish capital Madrid, showed that the growing appetite for oil and gas meant that the world was far from achieving the drastic cuts. in the greenhouse gas emissions needed to avoid catastrophic global warming.
However, coal use fell sharply in the US and Europe, helping to slow the projected growth in carbon dioxide emissions to 0.6 percent in 2019 compared to 2.1 percent a year earlier, according to Reuters reported.
Led by huge leaps from China and India, the world is projected to spew 36.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2019.
Two scientific studies from the Global Carbon Project, a group of international scientists who track emissions, show that they have risen nearly 231 million tons since 2018, according to studies in Environmental Research Letters.
Reuters reported slower demand growth in China, which burns half the world's coal, and India, combined with weaker overall economic growth, also helped slow the upward march in emissions, the report said. as Global Carbon Budget 2019.
"The weak growth in carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 is due to an unexpected decline in global coal use, but this drop is insufficient to overcome the strong growth in natural gas and oil consumption," said Dr. Glen Peters, research director in Oslo. CICERO climate research center.
Dr. Peters added that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels would likely be more than four percent higher in 2019 than in 2015, the year the UN-sponsored Paris Agreement was adopted. to tackle climate change.
Published by the Global Carbon Project research group in various academic journals, including Nature Climate Change, the report represents the first annual estimate of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions in 2019.
The authors said recent growth in renewable energy and electric vehicles had served, at best, simply to slow the growth of fossil fuel emissions, which must fall rapidly for the world to meet temperature targets in the Paris Agreement.
The study also estimated that emissions from wildfires and other land-use changes rose in 2019 to six billion tons of CO2, about 0.8 billion tons more than the previous year, in part due to the fires in the Amazon and Indonesia.
Dr Joeri Rogelj, Professor of Climate Change at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, downplayed the long-term importance of annual fluctuations in emissions growth.
"The little slowdown this year is really nothing to get too excited about," said Dr. Rogelj.
"If there is no structural change underlying this slowdown, the science tells us that emissions will just continue to gradually increase on average," he added.
“Emissions grew more slowly than last year, but we still set a world record. It's hard to be optimistic about it, ”said study co-author Professor Rob Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University.
"I don't think we've fully seen the end of the coal yet, but it is certainly in agony," said Dr. Peters.
"However, I imagine a slow and prolonged decline in coal due to the young infrastructure in Asia," he closed.