A disturbing new report shows that global carbon dioxide emissions last year were higher than any other year on record since 1900.
In 2022, gas emissions increased by 0.9%, or 321 million tons, to a new high of 36.8 billion tons, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
This was largely due to the fact that many countries returned to using coal during the global energy crisis, even though global emissions growth was lower than expected.
The report shows that coal, which should be phased out in the UK from 2024, is responsible for more than a third of all global carbon emissions.
The report says that total emissions from coal rose by 1.6 percent, or 243 million tons, last year to a new all-time high of 15.5 billion tons.
The International Energy Agency released its 2022 Carbon Emissions Report Thursday, which provides a “complete picture” of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions over the past year – not just carbon dioxide, but also nitrous oxide and methane.
It uses the latest national statistics and data on energy use, economic performance and weather, and also includes emissions from all uses of fossil fuels for energy purposes, including electricity generation, non-renewable waste combustion, and emissions from industrial processes such as cement and iron production. . .
Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, said: “The effects of the energy crisis have not led to the massive increase in global emissions that was initially feared. This has happened thanks to a significant increase in renewable energy, electric vehicles, heat pumps and energy efficient technologies. And without clean energy.” Growth in carbon dioxide emissions was almost three times higher. However, we are still seeing an increase in emissions from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to achieve global climate goals.”
Birol blamed international and national fossil fuel companies for making record profits due to the climate crisis.
British Gas owner, for example, posted a profit of £3.3bn for 2022, surpassing the company’s previous highest annual profit of £2.7bn recorded in 2012.
“Fossil fuel companies must bear their share of the responsibility for their public promises to achieve climate goals,” said Birol.
Carbon dioxide is released when fossil fuels such as oil, coal, or natural gas are burned to power cars, planes, homes, and factories.
When the gas enters the atmosphere, it traps heat and contributes to climate warming.
According to the IEA report, carbon dioxide emissions in 2022 increased by 423 million tons compared to the previous year, while emissions from industrial processes decreased by 102 million tons, bringing the total increase last year to 321 million tons.
For comparison, according to NASA, a billion tons is equivalent to about 10,000 fully loaded aircraft carriers.
Industrial processes include the production of cement, steel, etc. and are usually carried out on a very large scale.
But at 15.5 billion tons, emissions from coal alone far exceed those from industrial processes or any other source of emissions.
The closest is oil, which will emit 11.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2022, followed by natural gas (about seven billion tons).
Compared to the previous year, carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas decreased by 1.6%, or 118 million tons. Like coal, oil and natural gas are fossil fuels.
In addition to being used to generate electricity in homes, oil is used in the aviation industry, which flourished after travel restrictions were introduced in the Covid era.
Extreme weather events also increased last year’s carbon emissions, the report said, as drought reduced the amount of water available for hydropower, increasing the need to burn fossil fuels.
Climate scientists called the report “alarming” and warned that people around the world must drastically cut emissions to slow the devastating effects of global warming.
“Any increase in emissions – even by one percent – is a failure,” said Rob Jackson, professor of earth science at Stanford University and head of the international group Global Carbon Project. “Any year when coal emissions are high is bad for our health and the Earth.” .
Even as emissions continue to rise to alarming levels, a reversal is still possible that could help meet the climate goals that countries have committed to.
This was stated by John Sterman, director of the Sloan Sustainability Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sterman argued that countries should support renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, electrify industry and transport, charge a high price for carbon emissions, reduce deforestation, plant trees, and get rid of the coal system.
“It’s a huge, massive undertaking to do all of this, but it’s what it takes,” he said.
Although emissions increased last year, they were lower than experts had expected.
Sharing renewable energy, electric vehicles and heat pumps has helped prevent an additional 550 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Strict epidemic-related measures and weak economic growth in China have also led to production cuts, helping to reduce overall global emissions.
The International Energy Agency in Europe said electricity generation from wind and solar power has surpassed electricity generation from gas or nuclear power for the first time.
Source: Daily Mail