Global carbon dioxide emissions have increased 2.7% from 2017 to 2018, scientists revealed Wednesday.
Three studies released by the Global Carbon Project, an international scientific collaboration working to stop the increase of greenhouse gases, concluded emissions have jumped to the highest level in seven years.
Scientists found that this year, the world will release 40.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide, up from 39.8 billion tons last year.
The new information was published in the journals Nature, Environmental Research Letters, and Earth System Science Data — and it showed the rise was driven by an increased use in coal, oil, and gas.
Stanford University climate scientist, Global Carbon Project chairman Rob Jackson, was not surprised with the results.
“We thought, perhaps hoped, emissions had peaked a few years ago,” Jackson said in a statement. “After two years of renewed growth, that was wishful thinking.”
The four biggest polluters were found to be the Unites States, China, India and the European Union.
For the first time since 2013, the U.S. showed a 2.5% rise in emissions — even though it had been lowering carbon pollution levels.
“This is terrible news,” said Andrew Jones, co-director of Climate Interactive, which models greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures but was not a part of the study. “Every year that we delay serious climate action, the Paris goals become difficult to meet.”
Every second, the world emits 1,300 tons of carbon dioxide into the air.
Prof. Corinne Le Quéré, the study’s lead researcher, said unusual factors caused the rise in emissions in the U.S. this year. The factors were increased electricity use during the summer and winter months.
China’s significant rise of 4.6% was caused by coal-powered manufacturing.
“Emissions need to peak and rapidly decrease to address climate change. With this year’s growth in emissions, it looks like the peak is not yet in sight,” Le Quéré said in a news release.
“To limit global warming to the Paris Agreement goal of 34.7 degrees, CO2 emissions would need to decline by 50% 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 37.4 degrees of global warming.”