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Global Carbon Emissions From Fossil Fuels Remained Relatively Flat for 3 Consecutive Years

Nov 14, 2016 04:15 AM EST
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A new study revealed that the global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels has barely grown and will more likely to remain relatively flat by the end of 2016.

The study, published in the journal Earth System Science Data, showed that the global carbon dioxide emissions will most likely to remain at approximately 36 billion metric tons in 2016, marking the third consecutive years of no growth in global carbon emissions.

"This third year of almost no growth in emissions is unprecedented at a time of strong economic growth," said Prof Corinne Le Quéré, Director of the Tyndall Centre at University of East Anglia and lead author of the study, in a statement. "This is a great help for tackling climate change but it is not enough. Global emissions now need to decrease rapidly, not just stop growing."

The researchers attribute the three-year slowdown of the global carbon emissions to the decreased use of fossil fuels in China and other top emitters. China remains to be the biggest emitter of atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, China's emission was down by 0.7 percent in 2015 and is projected to have further reduction of 0.5 percent in 2016.

On the other hand, United States, which is the second biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, saw an emission decrease of 2.6 percent last year. Despite the increasing consumption of oil and gas, U.S. is projected to have a further reduction of 1.7 percent in their emissions this 2016.

Despite the low growth of carbon dioxide emissions, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide remains high, reaching record-high in 2015 and is expected to reach new high this 2016. The researchers are attributing the high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to the reduced ability of the so-called carbon sinks, such as forest and oceans.

The hot and dry conditions brought by the El Nino event make it harder for trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With the global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations exceeding 400 parts per million, the researchers noted the importance of further cutting back carbon dioxide emissions to prevent further warming of the planet.

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