China’s energy needs are being blamed for global carbon emissions rising for the first time in four years

China’s growing energy needs have been blamed for global carbon emissions rising in 2017, following three years of them remaining constant.

Research conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project has suggested emissions in China are projected to grow by approximately 3.5% in 2017.

Even though there has been an increased effort to use green energy within the nation, coal use is up an estimated 3%, oil use is up 5% and natural gas use is up nearly 12% in China.

“The green economy is booming in China and elsewhere, but growing energy demands are also being met with new oil, coal and natural gas infrastructure,” said Stanford University scientist Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project.

Image courtesy of University of East Anglia

In their paper, published in in the journals Nature Climate ChangeEarth System Science Data Discussions and Environmental Research Letters, the researchers 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.

“Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three year stable period. This is very disappointing,” said lead researcher Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA

“With global CO2 emissions from human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below 2ºC let alone 1.5ºC.

“This year we have seen how climate change can amplify the impacts of hurricanes with more intense rainfall, higher sea levels and warmer ocean conditions favouring more powerful storms. This is a window into the future. We need to reach a peak in global emissions in the next few years and drive emissions down rapidly afterwards to address climate change and limit its impacts.”

Image courtesy of University of East Anglia

While emissions are predicated to rise in China, the researchers expect CO2 emissions to decline by 0.4% in the US and 0.2% in the EU; although, these are smaller declines than during the previous decade.

Renewable energy has also increased rapidly, and 2017 should see another record set for the amount of renewable generating capacity being installed.

“This year’s result is discouraging, but I remain hopeful,” said Jackson. “In the US, cities, states and companies have seized leadership on energy efficiency and low-carbon renewables that the federal government has abdicated.”

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Skydio unveils its obstacle-dodging, thrill-seeking, AI-powered drone

An autonomous drone startup founded by former MIT researchers has today launched its R1, a fully autonomous flying camera that follows its subjects through dense and challenging environments.

In a promotional video, launched to introduce the autonomous camera, R1 can be seen following an athlete as she parkours her way through dense woodland.

The drone’s makers Skydio have explained that the camera combines artificial intelligence, computer vision, and advanced robotics and works by anticipating how people move, so R1 can make intelligent decisions about how to get the smoothest, most cinematic footage in real-time.

“The promise of the self-flying camera has captured people’s imaginations, but today’s drones still need to be flown manually for them to be useful,” said Adam Bry, CEO and co-founder of Skydio.

“We’ve spent the last four years solving the hard problems in robotics and AI necessary to make fully autonomous flight possible. We’re incredibly excited about the creative possibilities with R1, and we also believe that this technology will enable many of the most valuable drone applications for consumers and businesses over the coming years.”

Launching today is the Frontier Edition of R1, which is aimed at athletes, adventurers, and creators.

This version of R1 is powered by the Skydio Autonomy Engine, enabling it to see and understand the world around it so that it can fly safely at speeds of upto 25mph while avoiding obstacles.

The autonomous drone is fitted with 13 cameras, which gives it the ability to map and understand the world in real-time, allowing it to be fully autonomous and independently capture footage that in Skydio’s words “once required a Hollywood film crew” and will “enable a new type of visual storytelling”.

The R1 “Frontier Edition” is available for order now on Skydio’s website for $2,499.