Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change, are on track to rise by one per cent in 2022 to reach an all-time high, according to scientists.
The Global Carbon Budget report, released on Friday during the United Nations COP27 climate summit, laid bare the gap between the promises governments, companies and investors have made to cut planet-warming emissions in future years, and their actions.
Emissions from oil, fuelled by the rebound in aviation after the COVID-19 pandemic, will probably rise more than two per cent compared with last year, while emissions from coal – thought by some to have peaked in 2014 – will hit a new record.
“Oil is more driven by the recovery from COVID, and coal and gas are more driven by events in Ukraine,” Glen Peters, research director at CICERO climate research institute in Norway, told the AFP news agency.
Global CO2 emissions from all sources, including deforestation, will reach 40.6 billion tonnes, just below the record level in 2019, the report by more than 100 scientists showed. About 90 per cent of that is the result of burning fossil fuels.
The data suggests the rise is consistent with underlying trends and deeply worrying, said Peters, a co-author of the study.
“Emissions are now five per cent above what they were when the Paris Agreement was signed” in 2015, he noted. “You have to ask: When are they going to go down?”
The new figures show just how dauntingly hard it will be to reduce emissions fast enough to meet the Paris goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit), above preindustrial levels.
Heating beyond that threshold, scientists warn, risks triggering dangerous tipping points in the climate system.
Barely 1.2C (34.2F) of warming to date has already unleashed more extreme weather, with heat waves, drought, flooding and tropical storms made more destructive by rising seas.
The report showed emissions this year are set to rise by 1.5 per cent in the United States and six per cent in India, the world’s second and third-biggest emitters, respectively. —AFP