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Microsoft targets 75% cut in carbon emissions by 2030

17 November 2017

The group, which helped organize three research groups in concert to come to the conclusions, attributed the carbon growth - likely to be 2 percent year-over-year - to increasing emissions in China and developing nations from burning fossil fuels, aligning with economic growth. Among them, the United States is expected to see a 0.4 percent decline in emissions this year, and the European Union 0.2 percent.

Increases in coal use in China and the USA are expected this year, reversing their decreases since 2013, it added.

Still, overall global carbon emissions are unlikely to decrease in 2018, according the researchers.

Together, they forecast that global fossil fuel emissions will reach a record 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2017, with total emissions reaching a record 41 billion tons, including deforestation.

Worldwide "we are probably in the level-to-upwards direction for emissions in the next years rather than level or downwards", Peters said, because of stronger global gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

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"The news that emissions are rising after a three-year hiatus is a giant leap backward for humankind", said Amy Luers, a climate policy advisor to Barack Obama and executive director of Future Earth, which co-sponsored the research.

The Paris Climate Agreement targets would require steep emissions cuts ASAP, compared to current trends. Although India's emissions are projected to grow by just 2 percent this year-a dramatic shift from over 8 percent per year during the last decade-they could easily bump up rapidly if its economy recovers from a recent downturn. But emissions for the rest of the globe - which, in total, are even larger than China's - will rise by close to 2 percent, according to the projection.

During the three-year emissions "plateau" - and specifically in 2015-16 - the accumulation of CO₂ in the atmosphere grew at a record high that had not previously been observed in the half-century for which measurements exist.

"The full effect of the winter package has not kicked in, so it's fair to say that what we will get at the end of this year might be lower than 3.5 per cent but we will still need to see".

For the United States, the slowdown comes from a decline in the use of natural gas because of higher prices, with the loss of its market share taken by renewables and to a lesser extent coal.

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While growth in coal consumption is similar to the previous two years at about 3 per cent, oil consumption growth has stalled, at less than 1 per cent, and cement production has dropped sharply, by more than 6 per cent through to August. "Our data paints a picture that is very different from the usual reports that for example concentrate on renewable energy capacity additions".

Atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 403 parts per million in 2016, and is expected to increase by 2.5 ppm in 2017.

Jackson led a second study for the Global Carbon Project on carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere that appears in the same journal and a related commentary in Nature Climate Change on tracking emissions to the Paris agreement.

Earth is overheating due to the burning of oil, gas and especially coal to power the global economy. "It is far too early to proclaim that we have turned a corner and started the journey towards zero emissions".

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Microsoft targets 75% cut in carbon emissions by 2030