No signs of decreasing global carbon dioxide emissions


Global carbon emissions in 2022 remain at record highs, with no sign of the decline urgently needed to limit warming to 1.5°C, according to the Global Carbon Project science team.

If current emission levels persist, there is now a 50% chance that global warming of 1.5°C will be exceeded in nine years.

The new report global total CO projects2 emissions of 40.6 billion tonnes (GtCO2) in 2022. This is powered by fossil CO2 emissions which are expected to increase by 1.0% compared to 2021, to reach 36.6 GtCO2– slightly above 2019 pre-COVID-19 levels. Emissions from land use change (such as deforestation) are projected to be 3.9 GtCO2 in 2022.

Projected emissions from coal and oil are above their 2021 levels, with oil being the main contributor to the growth in total emissions. The growth in oil emissions is largely explained by the late rebound in international aviation following restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 picture among top emitters is mixed: emissions are expected to decline in China (0.9%) and the EU (0.8%), and increase in the US (1.5%) and India (6%), with an increase of 1.7% for the rest of the world combined.

The remaining carbon budget for a 50% probability of limiting global warming to 1.5°C has been reduced to 380 GtCO2 (exceeded after nine years if emissions remain at 2022 levels) and 1230 GtCO2 to be limited to 2°C (30 years at 2022 emissions levels).

Achieve zero CO2 by 2050 would now require a decrease of around 1.4 GtCO2 each year, comparable to the observed decline in 2020 emissions resulting from COVID-19 related lockdowns, underscoring the scale of action required.

The land and ocean, which absorb and store carbon, continue to absorb about half of the CO2 emissions. The ocean and the land CO2 sinks further increase in response to atmospheric CO2 increase, although climate change has reduced this growth by around 4% (oceanic sink) and 17% (terrestrial sink) over the decade 2012-2021.

This year’s carbon budget shows that the long-term rate of increase in fossil emissions has slowed. The average increase peaked at +3% per year during the 2000s, while growth over the past decade has been around +0.5% per year.

The research team – comprising the University of Exeter, the University of East Anglia (UEA), CICERO and the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich – welcomed the slowdown, but said it was ” far from the reduction in emissions that we need”.

The findings come as world leaders gather at COP27 in Egypt to discuss the climate crisis.

“This year we are witnessing a further increase in global fossil CO2 emissions, when we need a rapid decline,” said Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, from the Global Systems Institute in Exeter, who led the study.

“There are positive signs, but leaders gathered at COP27 will need to take meaningful action if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming to nearly 1.5°C. Global carbon budget figures monitor progress of climate action and right now we don’t see the action required.

Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Royal Society Research Professor at UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, said: “Our results reveal turbulence in emissions patterns this year resulting from the pandemic and global energy crises.

“If governments respond by boosting clean energy investment and planting, not cutting, trees, global emissions could quickly begin to fall.

“We are at a turning point and must not let global events distract us from the urgent and sustained need to reduce our emissions to stabilize the global climate and reduce cascading risks.”

Land use change, especially deforestation, is a major source of CO2 emissions (about one-tenth the amount from fossil emissions). Indonesia, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo contribute 58% of global land use change emissions.

Removing carbon through reforestation or new forests offsets half of deforestation emissions, and researchers say stopping deforestation and increasing efforts to restore and expand forests is a big opportunity to reduce emissions. emissions and increase removals in forests.

The Global Carbon Budget report projects that atmospheric CO2 concentrations will average 417.2 parts per million in 2022, more than 50% above pre-industrial levels.

The projection of 40.6 GtCO2 total emissions in 2022 are close to 40.9 GtCO2 in 2019, which is the highest annual total on record.

– This press release was originally published on the University of Exeter website


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