A new report shows that 2016 marks the third year in a row with no increase in worldwide emissions. The findings have been met with cautious optimism, as they signal China’s declining coal production. However many are concerned that US president-elect Donald Trump has vowed to back out of the Paris Agreement and thinks climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.
In 2016, a negligible 0.2 percent rise in carbon emissions was projected – which is quite a deviation from the typical annual growth rate of three percent in the 2000s. China is responsible for 30 percent of global emissions, however its total emissions actually declined 0.5 percent this year.
The findings were presented at the climate change talks in Marrakesh, Morocco, where nearly 200 governments are convening from November 7-18. The study, published in the journal Earth System Science Data, projected US emissions to drop 1.7 percent, yet it is anyone’s guess as to how long this decline will continue after the presidential transition. A palpable, foreboding uncertainty has fallen over the talks after election of Donald Trump, who not only wishes to pull out of the Paris Agreement, but also favors the coal and oil industries.
“The break in emissions rise is a great help for tackling climate change but it is not enough,” said Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Director of the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia and leader of the study’s data analysis. “Global emissions now need to decrease rapidly, not just stop growing.”