Save millions of lives by tackling climate change, says WHO

Marine terrace raised beach Abandoned cliff line beyond Uplift coastal erosion Aerial North east of New Plymouth Taranaki New Zealand

"[Current] energy and climate policies are not sufficient to overcome the growth in economic activity or energy-use growth", said Glen Peters, research director at the Center for International Climate Research in Norway and a co-author of the new report.

G20 leaders on Saturday agreed a final communique after their summit in Buenos Aires, declaring that the Paris Agreement was "irreversible". In a comment published yesterday in Nature, dozens of co-authors-led by Christiana Figueres, a former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change-suggested that decarbonizing the global economy by 2050 may still be within reach.

Emissions are projected to rise 2.7 percent this year, according to three studies released Wednesday from the Global Carbon Project, an worldwide scientific collaboration of academics, governments and industry that tracks greenhouse gas emissions. And now, a new report suggests that last year wasn't an aberration - the three-year plateau was.

"Under pressure of the current economic downturn, some local governments might have loosened supervision on air pollution and carbon emissions, " said Yang Fuqiang, an energy adviser to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a USA environmental organization.

"It is not enough to support renewables", she added.

Curbing carbon emissions is the single most important pledge of the historic 2015 agreement, which aims to combat climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century to between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees Celsius. Le Quere said a government effort to boost construction and stimulate the economy increased demand for emissions-intensive steel, aluminum and cement.

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Encouragingly the report places the blame on weather conditions requiring more heating in the winter and cooling in the summer and predicts U.S. emissions will decline again in 2019, with cheap gas, wind and solar set to continue to displace coal power.

In the United States, emissions appear to be up 2.5 percent this year - although, there is some reason to think that that spike might be the aberrant result of an unusually cold winter in some parts of the country, and an unusually hot summer in others.

Rising oil use for transportation also was a factor, as American consumers are once again buying bigger cars.

In Europe the report projects a slight decrease in Carbon dioxide emissions of 0.7 per cent, although this represents a slowdown in the rate of decarbonisation from the two per cent annual average decline seen between 2004-2014.

"Innovation must be the main driver of energy transformation", Morawiecki said, as quoted by Poland's PAP news agency. That should help take the edge off the emissions curve, even as growth picks up in another Asian giant - India. "We can't afford to delay action any further".

Trembath cautions, however, that Africa remains a question mark.

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