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Global carbon dioxide emissions reached new highs in 2022: report - The Hill

Global carbon dioxide emissions reached new highs in 2022: report – The Hill

Global carbon dioxide emissions reached new highs in 2022: report | The Hill

FILE – Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant in Hejin in central China’s Shanxi Province on Nov. 28, 2019. The International Energy Agency on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, accused fossil fuel industries of doing too little to curb methane emissions and undermining global climate goals to limit warming. (AP Photo/Olivia Zhang, File)

Carbon dioxide emissions related to energy production globally rose at a slower pace by 0.9 percent in 2022, reaching more than 36.8 billion metric tons.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released the report as climate experts emphasize the importance of global CO2 emissions, implying that they should be reduced in order to ensure that the latest climate targets set by the World Resources Institute in the United States are met. The IEA said that “emissions still remain on an unsustainable growth trajectory.” 

“The apparent slowdown in carbon emissions last year is no cause for celebration,” said Antoine Halff, a founding partner of Kayrros, an energy consulting firm that makes extensive use of satellite imagery. “This is not a positive achievement flowing from virtuous climate policies, but rather a byproduct of Russian aggression and its adverse effect on European energy-intensive industries on the one hand, and on the other hand the nefarious effect of China’s public health policies on its economy.” 

While emissions remain at a rate of growth that is unsustainable, the carbon dioxide rate in 2022 was significantly slower than in 2021, when it grew more than 6 percent. That slower rate of energy usage was a rebound from the pandemic, the agency said. 

But last year’s disruptions, from the war in Ukraine to work restrictions related to the pandemic in China, meant the “increase of global emissions was not as fast as the agency had feared it would be,” the IEA said. 

“Two major events contributed to reducing emissions last year,” said Halff. “China’s zero-covid policy and the war in Ukraine took a big bite off of world carbon emissions last year, but that was partly offset by a resurgence of coal as a substitute for scarce or pricey natural gas.” 

As a result, emissions in the U.S. grew by 0.8 percent due to a significant increase of extreme temperatures in the building sector as cutbacks in emissions came from other areas, such as solar and wind energy. While other countries reduce their natural gas usage, the United States increased its fuel usage by 89 million metric tons. 

“A smaller increase than ‘initially feared’ is a far cry from the rapid emission reductions the world needs to see to avoid the worst impacts of global warming,” said Daniel Lashof, the director of the World Resources Institute in the United States. 

However, global emissions need to be reduced by more than 40 percent by 2030, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in order to keep up with the rise of the global temperature. 

“So, any increase in emissions, even a small one, means we are getting further and further off course,” he said. 

As any increase to emissions could change the course, the resurgence of coal could significantly affect emissions as the war in Ukraine continues, with China approving the largest expansion of a coal-fired power plant as of last year. 

Tags carbon dioxide carbon emissions Climate change climate targets IEA Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Renewable energy Russia-Ukraine war World Resources Institute in the United States zero COVID policy


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