According to the research group Global Carbon Project, grouping climate researchers welcomed the flatlining of emissions amid global economic growth. But it cautioned that the world was not yet firmly on track for a greener economy, Engadget reports.
A team of 67 researchers from dozens of institutions worked on the study that tracked the worldwide rate of carbon emissions. They measured carbon emitted by burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and other sources and found out that Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry were set to rise a tiny 0.2 percent in 2016 from 2015 levels to 36.4 billion tones, the third consecutive year with negligible change and down from three percent growth rates in the 2000s, it said.
Though carbon emissions have stalled for now, they're still 63 percent above emissions in 1990, the Global Carbon Project notes. The use of fossil fuels and industrial activity generated more than 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2016; the key to halting global warming is to bring emissions to zero.
Still, it's too soon to say whether this emissions flattening is a sign of a future decline in carbon emissions or represents a temporary stall. If either China or the U.S. increases their emissions in the next few years, we may see the 3 percent increase of past years resume.
And even if this trend continues, and carbon emissions remain the same for next year that only slows climate change down. CO2 emissions are still 60 percent higher than they were in 1990. In order to halt or reverse the effects of climate change, we still need to dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.