Communities around the world emitted more carbon dioxide in 2022 than in any other year on record dating back to 1900.
The high figure is the result of air travel rebounding from the pandemic and more cities turning to coal as a low-cost energy source.
Greenhouse gas emissions caused by energy production rose 0.9 percent to reach 36.8 gigatons in 2022, the International Energy Agency announced Thursday.
The mass of one gigaton is equivalent to about 10,000 fully loaded aircraft carriers, according to NASA.
“Any increase in emissions is a failure”
Carbon dioxide is released when fossil fuels such as oil, coal or natural gas are burned for energy car, planes, houses and factories. When the gas enters the atmosphere, it traps heat and contributes to climate warming.
Extreme weather events intensified carbon dioxide emissions last year. Droughts reduced the amount of water available for hydropower, which increased the need to burn fossil fuels. And heat waves increased demand for electricity.
Thursday’s report was described as worrying by climate scientists, who warn that energy users around the world must dramatically cut emissions to slow the dire consequences of climate change. global warming.
“Any increase in emissions — even 1 percent — is a failure,” said Rob Jackson, a professor of earth system science at Stanford University and chairman of the Global Carbon Project, an international group.
“We can’t afford growth. We can’t afford stagnation. It’s cuts or chaos for the planet. Every year of higher coal emissions is a bad year for our health and for the Earth.”
Why will carbon emissions break records in 2022?
Carbon dioxide emissions from coal it grew by 1.6 percent last year. Many communities, mostly in Asia, switched from natural gas to coal to avoid high natural gas prices that were exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukrainesaid the IEA.
And as global airline traffic grew, carbon dioxide emissions from burning oil rose by 2.5 percent, with about half of the increase coming from the aviation sector.
Global emissions have increased in most years since 1900 and have accelerated over time, according to data from the IEA. An exception was the pandemic year of 2020, when travel was banned.
Last year’s emissions level, while a record high, was lower than experts expected. Increased distribution of renewable energy, electric vehicles and heat pumps Together they helped prevent an additional 550 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions, the IEA said.
Strict pandemic measures and weak economic growth in China also limited production, helping to limit overall global emissions. And in Europe, the IEA said, Electricity production from wind and solar power has surpassed that of gas or nuclear for the first time.
“Without clean energy, the increase in CO2 emissions would have been nearly three times higher,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement.
“However, we still see rising emissions from fossil fuels, hampering efforts to meet the world’s climate targets. International and national fossil fuel companies are making record profits and must take their share of responsibility, in line with their public promises to meet climate goals.”
Achieving climate goals is still possible
Although emissions continue to rise at alarming levels, a reversal that would help meet the climate goals nations have committed to remains possible, said John Sterman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Sustainability Initiative.
Nations should subsidize renewables, improve energy efficiency, electrify industry and transportation, put a high price on carbon emissions, reduce deforestation, plant trees and rid the system of coal, Sterman argued.
“It’s a massive, massive undertaking to do all these things, but it’s what’s needed,” he said.
Leave a Reply