COLLEGE PARK, Md.– Global carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high in 2018 according to the Global Carbon Project, a group of international researchers focused on global sustainability, including three from the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences.
The group issued the 2018 Global Carbon Budget, a report recently published simultaneously in the journals Nature, Earth System Science Data and Environmental Research Letters, which reveals that carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise more than 2 percent driven by solid growth in the use of coal and sustained growth in oil and gas usage. CO2 emissions have now risen for a second year, after three years of little-to-no growth from 2014 to 2016.
“While fossil fuel emissions continue to rise and dominate the budget, emissions from land use change and terrestrial carbon uptake remain important and highly uncertain,” said Geographical Sciences Professor George Hurtt.
Hurtt and Louise Chini, an assistant research professor, provided global land-use data for the study and Ben Poulter, an adjunct professor, contributed estimates of land carbon uptake.
The Global Carbon Project team says the report is a further call to action for governments at the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice this week. However, the researchers point to changing energy trends and say there is still time to address climate change if efforts to curb carbon emissions rapidly expand in all sectors of the economy.
While almost all countries contributed to the rise in global emissions, the 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, the United States, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Canada. The European Union as a whole region of countries would rank third. However, researchers say the good news is that 19 countries were able to reduce emissions over the past decade and still demonstrated economic growth.
The Global Carbon Project is an international research project within the Future Earth research initiative on global sustainability. It aims to develop a complete picture of the global carbon cycle, including both its biophysical and human dimensions together with the interactions and feedbacks between them. This marks the 13th edition of the annual update that started in 2006.