Burning fossil fuels continues to destabilize the Earth. A group of more than 100 scientists has determined that 2022 will be a “record year” for carbon emissions – the finding comes as world leaders gather in Egypt at COP27 to discuss the urgency of minimizing global warming to avoid the worst effects of climate change. .
Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas produced by human activity, with its emissions contributing significantly to global warming. The burning of fossil fuels overwhelmingly contributes to its increased concentrations, and international agencies and scientists have urged that such activities must be severely curtailed — and quickly — to prevent excessive warming.
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Global carbon dioxide emissions fell during the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, but rose again in 2021. This year, they are expected to increase by another 1% to reach a level higher than in 2019, so that 2022 will be “a new record yearEmissions from coal, oil and gas are expected to be higher than in 2021.
The Global Carbon Project published the findings.
These increased emissions increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. This year, the concentration shows an average of 417.2 parts per million (ppm), which is an increase from last year. record high. The last time carbon concentrations in the atmosphere were this high was more than 3 million years ago.
“This represents an increase in atmospheric CO2 of approximately 51% compared to pre-industrial levels,” said climatologist Zeke Hausfather.
Some regions saw their emissions fall – China by 0.9% and the European Union by 0.8% – but many others saw significant increases. The US, which has long been the world’s largest producer of carbon, saw emissions rise by 1.5% this year. India, ranked 7th in carbon emissions by Carbon Brief, saw an increase of 6%.
The planet relies on land and ocean carbon sinks to help offset such concentrations. “Sinks” are things like plants, the ocean, and soil that absorb more carbon than they release. But Hausfather explained that they “cannot expand indefinitely” and that they are expected to weaken over time as the effects of climate change worsen.
Actually, it’s already happening.
The oceans, which absorb about half of carbon dioxide emissions, have their capacity to absorb CO2 reduced by about 4%, Hausfather said.
“If emissions continue to rise, the fraction of global emissions remaining in the atmosphere — that is, the fraction carried through the air — will increase, causing the amount of climate change the world is experiencing to be worse than it would otherwise be,” he said.
Matt Jones, one of the study’s authors, said the findings nevertheless offered “some hope” – that overall human emissions appear to be “leveling off”.
Land-use change emissions, primarily from deforestation, are projected to be about 10 times lower than fossil fuel emissions in 2022, but Jones said the estimate comes with the “highest uncertainty” among the researchers’ other findings.
From all sources considered, emissions remain high in 2022 “but roughly flat since 2015,” the researchers said in presentation“but this trend is uncertain.”
And at the current rate, the world is moving towards. The UN has warned that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times appears to be and this report highlights its improbability. For that to happen, the researchers said, no more than 380 billion tons of carbon dioxide must be released in the coming years — about 9 years of emissions based on 2022 numbers.
A significant reduction in carbon emissions has been the main goal of scientists and international agencies. It demands one of the main aspects of the Paris Climate Agreement net zero greenhouse gas emissions reduce warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.
But for that to happen, the world would have to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.4 billion tons a year, the report’s researchers found. This would equate to an almost complete shutdown of cement production in 2021, which it has been producing 1.67 billion tons carbon emissions.
“We need to reduce … greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible,” said Pierre Friedlingstein, lead author of the study. “…This decade to the 2030s is when we really need to show action and get global emissions down as fast as possible. This is no time to wait.”