CO2 emissions stay steady for third consecutive year

coal plant in China

Despite economic growth, global emissions of carbon dioxide won’t rise much in 2016 thanks in part to reduced coal burning in China, scientists report.

ansoncfit/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Global emissions of carbon dioxide won’t increase much in 2016 despite overall economic growth, newly released bookkeeping suggests. The result marks a three-year-long plateau in the amount of CO2 released by human activities, scientists from the Global Carbon Project report November 14 in Earth System Science Data.

The group’s projected rise in CO2 emissions of 0.2 percent for 2016 is far lower than the rapid emissions growth of around 2.3 percent annually on average from 2004 through 2013. Emissions increased by about 0.7 percent in 2014 over the previous year and remained largely flat in 2015.

China is largely responsible for the emissions slowdown, the researchers write. The country is the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter and is projected to reduce its CO2 emissions by 0.5 percent this year.

More Stories from Science News on Climate