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Carbon emissions rose in these countries in 2018, throwing the Paris Agreement further out of reach

Carbon emissions rose in these countries in 2018, throwing the Paris Agreement further out of reach
[Photo: Diana Parkhouse/Unsplash]

Cue the sad violins: Emissions numbers are in from 2018, and they suck. Carbon emissions rose 2% worldwide last year, according to the 2019 Capgemini World Energy Markets Observatory report. This comes following an encouraging plateau from 2014 to 2016, and then a 1.6% increase in 2017. The notable offenders are:

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  • China: +2.3%
  • U.S. +3.4%
  • India +6.3%

These figures further bump the world off track for meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement standards, which would still allow the world to warm by 2 degrees C by 2050. 

Energy consumption usually drives most carbon emissions, and energy consumption was up 2.3% worldwide in 2018. The offenders list looks familiar:

  • China: +3.5%
  • U.S. +3.7%, following years of decline
  • India +4%

The greatest challenge is coal usage, which is a cheap and available source of energy, especially in developing countries. Both the Philippines and Vietnam have increased their energy consumption by 8% from 2014-2018, and President Trump, the report notes, “took measures to support US demand for coal.” 

Upbeat news: Europe logged a 2.5% decrease in emissions (down 22% since 1990!) and only a 0.2% increase in energy consumption. But as the report points, while it is a “good student” among nations, “it is only a small contributor to global warming and its good achievements don’t really help solve the global problem.”

In other bright spots, renewable power generation was up 14.5%, and the costs for renewable energies continued to remarkably plummet—concentrated solar power is down 26%, and hydropower is down 11%. This said, the report highlights a notable dip (14%) in clean energy investments in the first two quarters of this year, which does not bode well.

The take-home message: Want to save the world? Pour your money into clean energy investments right about now.

More statistics are here.

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