World could see catastrophic climate change in just nine years, study shows

This year’s findings are particularly grim. There is now a 50% chance that we will cross this critical threshold of 1.5 degrees in just nine years, according to the authors.

In total, in 2022, the world is expected to emit some 40.3 US tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels, 1% more than the world emitted in 2021.

The previous world record, set in 2019 before COVID-19 shutdowns curbed activity in some polluting industries and caused a temporary drop in emission rates, was 40 US tons.

The main driver of carbon emissions growth this year has been the burning of petroleum products, largely due to the rebound in air travel after the COVID-19 lockdowns ended.

This year, carbon emissions from oil have increased by 2% compared to last year, while emissions from the use of coal have increased by 1% and emissions from gas have decreased by 0.2%. , according to the analysis.

Amid the grim discoveries, there is a ray of hope. Although annual emissions are increasing, they are doing so at a slower rate than ten years ago. And although fossil fuel emissions are increasing, the annual amount of carbon released by deforestation and land use changes appears to be declining; when this is taken into account, annual global carbon emissions have been roughly stable since 2015.

Yet leading climate scientists have warned that the world must halve carbon emissions by the end of the decade to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and that would require drastically reducing the use of fossil fuels. There are “no signs” of this kind of global decline, say the authors of the new report.

The responsibility for the increase in global emissions is not shared equitably. In China, which is currently the world’s largest contributor to carbon pollution, emissions are expected to decline in 2022 by around 0.9% this year – the first decline since 2016 – mainly due to disruptions from COVID-19 lockdowns. 19, as well as the growth of renewable energy.

In contrast, US emissions are projected to increase by around 1.5% in 2022, due to an increase in gas consumption and an increase in aviation. The United States is currently the second largest contributor of greenhouse gases and the largest historical emitter.

The global carbon budget was released at the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Egypt, where President Biden spoke on Friday.

Biden said the United States would “do its part to avoid” reaching “climate hell, and that the Cut Inflation Act, which he signed into law in August, will help ensure that the country meets its emission reduction targets.

Not everyone was impressed with Biden’s speech, especially in light of the new global carbon budget report. Critics note that the Cut Inflation Act included provisions to approve new fossil fuel infrastructure, which could blunt the emissions cuts it is meant to catalyze.

“Biden came to the COP boasting of ‘climate change’ but left out the most crucial game of all: shutting down deadly fossil fuels,” said Jean Su, director of energy justice at the Environmental Center. not-for-profit for biological diversity.

Dharna Noor can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @dharnanoor.

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