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A chimney of a brick factory emits smoke during sunset in Jalandhar, India, 2018. Photo: Shammi Mehra/AFP via Getty Images

The growth of global carbon dioxide emissions slowed this year as coal consumption dipped, per new data from a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project.

Why it matters: It underscores how the emissions trajectory is nowhere close to the steep cuts scientists say are needed in the years and decades ahead to meet the goals of the Paris climate deal.

Where it stands: The report projects that emissions will be up 0.6% this year, compared to a 2.1% rise in 2018, according to the tally of CO2 from fossil fuels and industrial processes.

  • However, the estimated change this year ranges from a dip of 0.2% to an increase of 1.5%, which means that a slight decline can't be ruled out, the authors said.
  • The data arrives amid the major United Nations climate change conference in Madrid, where UN officials hope to lay the groundwork for nations to implement more ambitious policies.

The big picture: While use of coal — the most CO2-emitting fuel — fell slightly this year, that was offset by rising oil and natural gas consumption, so the overall movement is still upward.

“Carbon dioxide emissions must decline sharply if the world is to meet the ‘well below 2°C’ mark set out in the Paris Agreement, and every year with growing emissions makes that target even more difficult to reach,” said Robbie Andrew of the CICERO Center for International Climate Research, which is part of the Global Carbon Project.

What's next: I'll have more on the findings in tomorrow morning's edition of the Axios Generate newsletter. You can sign up here.

Go deeper: Nothing is happening remotely fast enough to save the planet

Go deeper

Study: Key Antarctic ice shelf is speeding up its collapse

Pine Island Glacier calves several new icebergs on Feb. 11, 2020, as seen via satellite. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

The Pine Island Glacier on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is responsible for more than a quarter of Antarctica's contribution to global sea level rise over the past decades. Now, a new study shows it is more vulnerable to rapid melting than thought, because climate change is weakening its natural braking system.

Why it matters: At stake is the future of a glacier containing about 160 trillion tons of ice, which if it were all to melt into the ocean would cause about 1.6 feet of global sea level rise.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Workers are taking power back

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American workers have been losing power since 1980 — but now the tables are turning.

Why it matters: The 2010s gave us the gig economy and left millions of workers stranded seemingly forever on the precipice of financial ruin. The 2020s could be the decade when workers seize back the reins of power.

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.