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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Still Rising, UN Report Says

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Greenhouse gas emissions have risen steadily for the past decade despite the current and future threat posed by climate change, according to a new United Nations report. The annual report compares how clean the world’s economies are to how clean they need to be to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change — a disparity known as the “emissions gap.” However, this year’s report describes more of a chasm than a gap. Global emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases have continued to steadily increase over the past decade. In 2018, the report notes that global fossil fuel CO2 emissions from electricity generation and industry grew by 2%.

“There is no sign of [greenhouse gas] emissions peaking in the next few years,” the authors write. Every year that emissions continue to increase “means that deeper and faster cuts will be required” to keep Earth from warming more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. […] The United States is currently not on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement, which the United States ratified and is technically still part of until its withdrawal takes effect in November 2020. According to the new report, six other major economies are also lagging behind their commitments, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Brazil, the Republic of Korea and South Africa. What’s interesting is that China’s per capita emissions are now “in the same range” as the European Union, thanks to the country’s large investments in renewable energy such as solar and wind.

Some of the recommendations for how the world’s top economies could cut emissions include: banning new coal-fired power plants, requiring all new vehicles to be CO2-free by 2030, expanding mass transit and/or requiring all new buildings to be entirely electric.


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