---Click to go Back to the Main Page
The world’s existing power plants, industrial equipment, vehicles and other
CO₂-emitters are on track to pump out enough carbon dioxide by midcentury to blow
past that target, researchers report July 1 in Nature. Add in future power plants that
are already planned, permitted or under construction, and we could emit enough by 2033
to raise average global atmospheric temperatures by 1.5 degrees, the researchers say.
If we want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, then “we cannot invest more in fossil fuel
power or infrastructure,” says Thorsten Mauritsen, a physical climate scientist at
Stockholm University who was not involved with the work. “Everything we do from now has
to change direction and not use fossil fuels.”
Only a few years ago, it looked as if global emissions had plateaued and had perhaps even peaked,
and many hoped that the world had started down the long, hard journey toward weaning itself off
carbon-based energy. Over the past decade, renewable energy use did indeed expand dramatically—but
so did the burning of oil, gas, and even coal. That growth outstripped any carbon-neutralizing
gains from renewables. There's a limit—a budget, essentially—to how much carbon dioxide we can
release and still avoid a level of climate chaos that would fundamentally transform modern life. And we're increasingly at risk of blowing right past it.
Last year’s Global Carbon Project forecast for 2017
(a forecast because the year was not over when the data were first published)
made a splash: They expected fossil carbon dioxide emissions to grow in 2017, after
flattening from 2014 to 2016. Prior to this, the climate community had been patting themselves on
the back as emissions had been stabilizing. In a rough wake-up call, the Global Carbon Project
found this was no longer the case. This year’s numbers confirm their earlier projection:
. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel sources
will have grown by 2.7 percent this year, growing even more quickly than the previous year,
which saw a 1.6 percent increase.
This increase primarily due to the expected coverage of the China national ETS.
While this trend brings the global coverage of GHG emissions closer to the Carbon
Pricing Leadership Coalition’s (CPLC’s) target of 25 percent by 2020, further progress
will be needed to reach this goal.
The primary mission of ECOSTRESS is to measure the temperature of plants from the vantage point
of the International Space Station. However, it can also detect other heat-related phenomena
like heat waves, volcanoes and fires. Due to the space station's unique orbit, ECOSTRESS
acquires imagery of the same areas at different times of day as it passes by overhead -
instead of crossing over each area at the same time of day like satellites in some other
orbits do. This is particularly important when trying to acquire cloud-free imagery over
perennially cloudy areas like the Amazon.