Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry have risen by more than 2 per cent in 2018 to reach new record highs, scientists have said.
Speaking during the United Nations' COP24 climate change conference in the southern Polish city of Katowice, Mateusz Morawiecki said: "I can proudly and without hesitation say that Poland is one of the leaders when it comes to measures undertaken to stop global warming". "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon". The rest of the world contributed 41 per cent a year ago, it said. Emissions from the USA, the second-biggest emitter, were likely to reach 5.4 billion tonnes, a rise of 2.5 per cent from previous year. China, the globe's biggest carbon emitter, saw its largest increase since 2011: 4.6 percent.
"The global rise in carbon emissions is worrying, because to deal with climate change they have to turn around and go to zero eventually", said Prof Corinne Le Quéré, at the University of East Anglia, who led the research published in the journal Nature. She believes unusual factors are at play this year. Most of that growth can be traced to an exceptionally hot summer and cold winter.
The study said that while China and India still rely heavily on coal, the USA and the European Union are slowly decarbonising.
John Reilly, co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said the results aren't too surprising because fossil fuels still account for 81 percent of the world's energy use.
Researchers have focused on controlling the level of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere due to the gas's ability to trap heat. Reilly, who wasn't part of the study, praised it as impressive.
And the dust is still settling from US President Donald Trump's decision to ditch the Paris accord.
The rise in 2017 was 1.6%.
The U.S. accounts for 15 percent of emissions. Overall, the world is spewing about 1,300 tons of carbon dioxide into the air every second.
In particular, "the trends have a lot to do with the ups and downs of coal use in China", Le Quere told journalists in Paris.
"It was the first time where people's choices and intentions to reduce emissions were being seen in the global (carbon) budget, as opposed to people responding to economic pressure", Mikaloff-Fletcher said.
The United Nations agency said Wednesday that meeting the 2015 Paris accord's goals would significantly cut global air pollution, saving a million lives each year by 2050. At the same time, Earth has warmed on average about two-thirds of a degree, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.