The increase in emissions this year, however, may upset the calculations.
That's the conclusion of the 2017 Global Carbon Budget, published 13 November by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) in the journals Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters and Earth System Science Data Discussions.
The report comes as 197 nations are meeting in Bonn in Germany for the annual United Nations climate negotiations, this one being COP-23.
Global carbon dioxide emissions are on track to rise slightly this year after three years of staying flat, new research shows. "This is very disappointing".
Total carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities, which includes fossil fuels, industry, and land-use change, will reach around 41 billion tons in 2017, while emissions from fossil fuels alone will reach around 37 billion tons.
"This year, we have seen how climate change can amplify the impact of hurricanes with stronger downpours of rain, higher sea levels and warmer ocean conditions favouring more powerful storms". "This would essentially mean that we need to have policies to lock in the gains we have had in the last few years", Peters said.
This is mainly because of increased emissions from China, which is witnessing a spurt in industrial growth, a multinational team of researchers said on Monday.
"The slowdown in emissions growth from 2014 to 2016 was always a delicate balance, and the likely 2 percent increase in 2017 clearly demonstrates that we can't take the recent slowdown for granted", Robbie Andrew, a co-author of the study and a senior researcher at Norway's CICERO Center for International Climate Research, said in a statement. It's been hungrier for coal, oil and natural gas, due to increases in industrial production and economic growth.
"Several factors point to a continued rise in 2018", warned Robert Jackson, another co-author of the report, co-chair of Global Carbon Project and a professor in earth systems science at Stanford University. "That's a real concern".
Korean soldier defects to South
Seoul says more than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953. This comes as war tensions continue to rise between North Korea and its enemies in the south and the US.
On the flip side, the Global Carbon Project found, at least 21 countries have managed to cut their emissions significantly while growing their economies over the past decade, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Sweden. "As [gross domestic product] rises, we produce more goods, which, by design, produces more emissions".
While it's unclear if the increase in emissions is a one-off or return to growth, this latest news is a setback in achieving targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement. The link between economic development and emissions growth seemed inextricable. Rising carbon dioxide emissions are generally associated with a rising GDP, but the report noted that 22 countries lowered their emissions while their economics grew as well. This year, the country's emissions of the greenhouse gas are expected to surge by 3.5%, to 10.5 billion tonnes.
Chinese emissions are projected to rise 3.5% (+0.7 to +5.4%) in 2017 (GDP up about 6.8%).
The U.S., which is the world's second biggest emitter, is projected to have a decline in emissions at 0.4 percent, a smaller decrease compared to the previous decade (1.2 percent each year).
European emissions are tentatively expected to decline by 0.2% (-2% to +1.6%) in 2017, lower than the decline of 2.2% per year averaged over the previous decade (GDP up about 2.3%).
The findings were reported in the 12th annual Global Carbon Budget report, which is produced by 76 of the world's leading emissions experts from 57 research institutions.
"This is basically saying that we are not safe yet", Peters says. "Fortunately, now it is not only possible, but in most cases makes simple financial sense, to meet these electricity needs with renewable energy sources".
"Chinese energy statistics have been plagued by many inconsistencies, particularly when projecting emissions for the current year", said Korsbakken.
This year's rebound in emissions suggests that it's too soon to celebrate.