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Global carbon emissions heading for an all-time high

Global carbon emissions heading for an all-time high

Global carbon pollution is on track to reach unprecedented levels in 2018, smashing hopes that the world had reached peak emissions.

Growing energy demands coupled with an unwillingness by many nations to let go of coal and oil are expected to result in a 2 per cent boost for emissions.

Released at the major COP24 summit in Poland, the news marks the end of a year in which climate change has made itself felt, driving heatwaves, droughts and wildfires across the planet.

It comes after a UN report warned that as emissions continue to creep upwards, nations must increase their commitments to tackling global warming by five times to avoid its worst effects.

CO2 pollution shot up in 2017 after a three-year decline that led many to speculate the world had hit peak carbon.

With the data suggesting this trend has continued into 2018, experts have redoubled their desperate warnings to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible to avoid climate disaster.

Some experts warned there was a sense of complacency among world leaders, as even the most progressive nations such as the UK cling on to fracking and gas plants while professing to pursue a green agenda.

Though coal exploitation has dropped since its peak in 2013, use of the high-polluting fuel has begun to creep back up again, contributing to a considerable chunk of emissions.

COP24 host nation Poland has drawn much criticism for refusing to give up coal, while US president Donald Trump has made his enthusiasm for it well known.

Oil use also increased in 2018 due to an increase in journeys taken by cars, lorries and planes.

Over the past decades, 19 nations from the UK to the US have cut their CO2 emissions while growing their economies.

Despite rapid growth in low-carbon technologies like electric vehicles and renewable energy sources like wind and solar, the team said “not nearly enough” is being done.

The world’s future under climate change hangs in the balance at the talks in the Polish coal mining city of Katowice, as leaders decide on how to implemented the Paris climate agreement.

“There’s way too much complacency in the air at these talks,” said Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for ActionAid International.

“We’re heading for big rises in global temperatures that will lead us to the complete and irreversible extinction of coral reefs and up to 150 million more premature deaths. That is the reality ahead.”

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