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Towards real-time verification of CO2 emissions

Matters Arising to this article was published on 30 April 2020

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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Fig. 1: Trends in CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Fig. 2: Our current ability to detect sustained changes in CO2 emissions based on atmospheric CO2 observations.


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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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Glen P. Peters.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Peters, G.P., Le Quéré, C., Andrew, R.M. et al. Towards real-time verification of CO2 emissions. Nature Clim Change 7, 848–850 (2017).

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