“With this year’s growth in emissions, it looks like the peak is not yet in sight,” said Professor Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia, who led the analysis. “To limit global warming to the Paris agreement goal of 1.5C, CO2 emissions would need to decline by 50 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by around 2050. We are a long way from this and much more needs to be done because if countries stick to the commitments they have already made, we are on track to see 3C of global warming.”
“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.”
Professor Kevin Anderson, a climate change scientist at the University of Manchester, said the new results were not surprising given the lack of ambition on display from “self-proclaimed climate progressive countries”.
“If the UK, a self-proclaimed climate progressive country, celebrates the exploitation of a new North Sea oil reserve [Clair Ridge], whilst simultaneously exploring for shale gas and expanding Heathrow, is it any surprise global emissions are rising?” he asked.
Professor Dave Reay, carbon management expert at the University of Edinburgh, said the new findings were “more brutal than ever” and must add to the wealth of existing evidence to galvanise action among policymakers.
“World leaders and their negotiators will say ‘we are doing our best’. So far their best has not been enough. For all our sakes they must now do what is required,” he said.