This year’s emissions expected to hit new high – no decline in sight

Global fossil CO2 emissions are expected to grow 1.0% in 2022 as the COVID recovery continues amidst turmoil in energy markets. Growth in oil use, particularly aviation and coal use are behind most of the increase in 2022. The analysis by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) published its annual analysis of trends in the global carbon cycle in the journal Earth System Science Data, including an updated full-year projection for 2022. The comprehensive report revealed that global fossil CO2 emissions 0F 1 were expected to grow 1.0% in 2022 (with an uncertainty range of 0.1% to 1.9%). The decline in 2020 of -5.2% because of COVID19 restrictions, was quickly erased by a 5.6% increase in 2021. Global fossil CO2 emissions have now grown 0.6% per year over the last 10 years the report found.

“Many countries, cities, companies, and individuals have made pledges to reduce emissions, and it is stark reminder that despite all this rhetoric, global fossil CO2 emissions are more than 5% higher than in 2015, the year of the Paris Agreement,” said Glen Peters, a Research Director at the CICERO Centre for International Climate Research.

“During the Global Financial Crisis in 2008/9, the COVID19 pandemic, and now the Ukrainian War, economic stimulus packages were meant to put the world on a cleaner and greener path, but this is not at all evident in the CO2 emissions data,” said Peters.

The turmoil in the global energy markets is affecting the different fossil fuels in different ways. CO2 emissions from natural gas use have grown a sustained 2.2% per year over the last 10 years but are expected to decline slightly in 2022 by 0.2% [-1.2% to 0.6%], potentially only the third such decline since 1990 (the others in 2009 and 2020). CO2 emissions from coal use are expected to grow 1.0% [0.2% to 1.9%], potentially exceeding the previous peak in 2014 to reach a new high. While the data indicates that coal use has plateaued in the last 10 years, there remains considerable uncertainty on when it will start to decline.

CO2 emissions from oil use are expected to grow 2.2% [0.9% to 3.2%], primarily due to an increase in international aviation, but oil use remains below 2019 levels and have not fully recovered from the COVID19 pandemic in 2020.

“Given that a further recovery in oil use is expected in 2023, if coal or gas use remain flat or increase, then it is likely that global fossil CO2 emissions will continue to rise in 2023 without a concerted policy effort,” said Robbie Andrew, a Senior Researcher at CICERO preparing the fossil CO2 emission estimates.

The report should act as a ‘wake-up call’ to delegates attending the UN Cop 27 climate summit in Egypt proving that urgent and fast action is needed to avoid devastating results from the climate emergency.

Photo: Mick Holder.

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