Annual global carbon emissions will reach an all-time high this year, according to the Global Carbon Budget annual report released Wednesday.
Fossil fuel emissions are set to increase 2.7 percent this year to 37.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide after going up 1.7 percent in 2017. This reverses a trend from 2014 until 2016, when global CO2 emissions leveled off after decades of growth.
Trying to bring down carbon emissions from human activity is a central goal of the Paris Agreement due to the acknowledgement by experts this is what accelerates climate change, according to CNN.
The Global Carbon Budget report blames this year’s record fossil fuel emissions on an increase in global coal use, which is expected to surpass its 2013 peak if growth continues.
The report says China, the U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Canada are the biggest emitters, with the EU ranking third if counted as one entity.
The U.S. accounts for 15 percent of emissions. After years of declines, emissions are projected to have increased approximately 2.5 percent this year.
A major step toward meeting goals set by the Paris Agreement would be to reduce emissions from transport, according to the report’s lead researcher Corinne Le Quéré, professor of climate change science and policy at the UK’s University of East Anglia.
“Renewable energy has expanded massively in the past few years, but the same has not happened for electric vehicles, largely because the price is still too high,” Le Quéré said. “Wind and solar benefitted from a lot of government investment, which pushed down prices and created a natural growth in these sectors. Investment in electric vehicles needs to expand.”