To wake up each day and read about how climatic conditions have degenerated over the time that we spent in bed the previous night just brings a sense of déjà vu these days. For, we have become so habitual of deteriorating ecology, increasing temperatures, melting glaciers and drastic climate change that nothing that gets reported seems to shake us out of the ennui.
So, when one opened one’s smartphone to read what the world was up to while we were asleep in India, the first bit that struck was that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere had just hit new highs. The Global Carbon Project, an initiative started by Stanford University scientist Rob Jackson with contributors from across the world, has presented this picture through three of their research papers.
The papers, which found mentioned in an article published by TechCrunch.com, says that carbon dioxide emissions, a key contributor to climate change and extreme weather globally, are set to reach another record high in 2019.
The three scientific research papers titled “Earth Systems Data Science,” “Environmental Research Letters” and “Nature Climate Change” warn that emissions could keep increasing for another decade unless countries around the world take drastic action to change their approach to energy, transportation and industries in general.
However, Rob Jackson does have a few words that may warm the cockles of our heart. In a statement, the scientists say that the rate at which carbon dioxide emissions were growing around the world had slowed down dramatically over the previous two years. So, Greta Thunberg can rest assured that even if President Trump doesn’t believe in climate change, the rest of the world does!
A New York Times report shows that the industrial emissions have risen only by 0.6 percent this year, in comparison to 1.5 percent in 2017 and 2.1 percent in 2018. While India showed a dramatic deceleration in its emissions, the United States as well as the European Union also managed to bring down their carbon dioxide output. The global emissions from coal have also reportedly come down by 0.9 percent in 2019.
The question is should we uncork the champagne bottles yet?
Not if we delve deeper into what Rob Jackson has to say in his triple reports and the statements thereafter. “When the good news is that emissions growth is slower than last year, we need help. We should not get happy assuming this comparative slowdown over the last two years to embark on a new journey in the climate change.”
Because, there is every likelihood that the emissions could continue soaring for another decade if countries do not start altering their approach towards energy consumption itself, he warns. Because, while there is a decline in overall coal usage, natural gas and oil consumption have risen in affluent nations, which means that we are replacing one pollutant with another.
The TechCrunch.com report quotes Pierre Friedlingstein from the University of Exeter and lead author of one of the reports prepared by the Global Carbon Project to suggest that emission cuts in wealthier countries must outpace increases in poor countries where access to energy is still needed. The International Energy Association feels some countries are making a change while others are rigid.
In spite of the fact that cost of wind and solar power has dropped considerably, as evident from this old report published by the IMF, the fact of the matter is that the United States, the European Union and China continue to account for all carbon dioxide emissions! So, what exactly are we celebrating here?That there has been a marginal decline in emission numbers from these countries? The problem with even taking such a decline into account is that it’s too little and too late.