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CO2 emissions reach record levels

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World Cement,

Global CO2 emissions rose to record levels in 2013, according to figures published by the Global Carbon Project. Emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production reached 36 billion t of CO2 last year – a 2.3% increase – and are predicted to reach 40 billion t this year. This is reported to be some 65% more fossil-fuel emissions than in 1990 when discussions over actions to reduce emissions first began.

Emissions rise in China, US and India

The rate of increase has slowed since 2009, in part due to the global economic downturn but also thanks to more stringent environmental policies. However, emissions rose 2.9% in the US, having recently declined due to the increased use of natural gas. The incline is attributed to the gains made by coal in terms of market share in 2013. Emissions rose 4.2% in China and 5.1% in India in 2013, bringing India’s per capita emissions above those of the EU for the first time.

How to avoid emissions hikes in developing countries has been a recurring issue at climate change conventions over the years and will no doubt continue to be so until cleaner solutions can be found that enable the same pace of growth for the same price as fossil fuel. China has been making efforts to reduce coal usage with the development of nuclear power and renewable energy, as well as cutting outdated capacity in industry to improve efficiency and clean up its environment.

It’s not all bad news, however. In the EU, despite increased use of coal in countries such as Germany and Poland, emissions fell 1.8% and decreased particularly sharply in Britain, Italy and Spain. The percentage of emissions attributed to deforestation also continues to decline.

King coal

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that, despite Chinese efforts to bring down the use of coal, the rate of fossil fuel consumption and demand is likely to continue to be driven by China and India. Coal is predicted to remain the world’s main source of energy until 2040 and beyond.

No doubt this topic will be on the table, together with talk of the best means of bringing renewable energy to developing countries, at this week’s UN climate change convention in New York.

Edited from various sources by


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