The Paris Agreement has increased the incentive to verify reported anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions with independent Earth system observations. Reliable verification requires a step change in our understanding of carbon cycle variability.

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Acknowledgements

This work was possible thanks to substantial contributions by many scientists and funding agencies that supported the Global Carbon Budget 2017 compiled by the Global Carbon Project. G.P.P., R.M.A., J.I.K. acknowledge the support of the Norwegian Research Council (project number 209701). J.G.C. acknowledges the support of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme’s (NESP) Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub. P.F. acknowledges support from the European Commission Horizon 2020 project CRESCENDO (grant number 641816). F.J. acknowledges support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (number 200020_172476). G.A.M. acknowledges support from the Center for Climate and Life at Columbia University.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. CICERO Center for International Climate Research, PO Box 1129, Blindern, Oslo, Norway

    • Glen P. Peters
    • , Robbie M. Andrew
    •  & Jan Ivar Korsbakken
  2. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK

    • Corinne Le Quéré
  3. Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Canberra, ACT, Australia

    • Josep G. Canadell
  4. College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

    • Pierre Friedlingstein
  5. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany

    • Tatiana Ilyina
  6. Department of Earth System Science, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

    • Robert B. Jackson
  7. Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

    • Robert B. Jackson
  8. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute and Oescher Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

    • Fortunat Joos
  9. Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, New York, USA

    • Galen A. McKinley
  10. College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

    • Stephen Sitch
  11. NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, CO, USA

    • Pieter Tans

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Contributions

G.P.P., C.L.Q., and J.G.C. designed the research; G.P.P. made Fig. 1; G.P.P., C.L., P.F., F.J. made Fig. 2. All authors analysed the data, figures, and contributed to the text.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Glen P. Peters.