Sunday, January 29, 2023

Globe almost back to 2019 carbon pollution levels

Glasgow, Scotland (NWN) – The dramatic drop in carbon dioxide emissions from pandemic lockdowns has largely disappeared in a puff of coal-fired smoke, much of it from China, a new scientific study found.

A group of scientists tracks heat-trapping gases that cause climate change Said that emissions in the first nine months of this year are slightly below 2019 levels. They estimate that the world will emit 36.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, compared to 36.7 billion metric tons two years ago.

Last year at the height of the pandemic, emissions were down to 34.8 billion metric tons, according to updated calculations by the Global Carbon Project, so this year’s jump is 4.9%.

While most countries went back to pre-pandemic trends, China’s increase in pollution was responsible for worldwide data bouncing back to 2019 levels, rather than falling far below them, said study co-author Corinne Lequere. Said, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia. United Kingdom.

With cities from India to Italy seeing dramatically cleaner air in 2020, some might have expected the world to be on the right track in reducing carbon pollution, but scientists said that was not the case.

“It’s not the pandemic that will turn us around the corner,” Lequare said in an interview at the climate talks in Glasgow, where he and colleagues are presenting their results. “It is decisions that are being taken this week and next week. That’s going to turn us in the corner. The pandemic is not changing the nature of our economy. “

If the world is going to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times, there are only 11 years left at current emissions levels before it’s too late, the paper said. The world has warmed by 1.1 °C (2 °F) since the 1800s.

“What the carbon emissions numbers show is that emissions (corrections for decline and recovery from COVID19) have basically flattened out now. This is good news,” said climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, who was not part of the report. “The bad news is that it’s not enough. We have to start reducing (emissions).”

emissions in china The study said that there were 7% more in 2021 as compared to 2019. By comparison, India’s emissions were only 3% higher. In contrast, the United States, the European Union and the rest of the world polluted less this year than in 2019.

LeQuere said China’s jump was mostly from burning coal and natural gas and was part of a massive economic stimulus to recover from the lockdown. Furthermore, she said, China’s lockdown ended much earlier than the rest of the world, so it took the country longer to recover financially and pump more carbon into the air.

LeQuere said the “green recovery” that many countries have talked about in their stimulus packages takes longer to show a reduction in emissions as rebounding economies use up an already existing energy mix.

The figures are based on governments’ data on electricity use, travel, industrial production and other factors. Emissions this year average 115 metric tons of carbon dioxide going into the air every second.

Breakthrough Institute climate director Zeke Hausfather, who was not part of the study, predicts that “there is a good chance that 2022 will set a new record for global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.”


For more NWN climate coverage:


Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @ bourenbier.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. NWN is solely responsible for all content.


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