Science alert: Only 9 years left to save climate

Beyond the trail of new commitments and the avalanche of reports that often all climate summits abandon, COP27 has left two particularly striking headlines, although so far they seem contradictory. And there are two news: one is good, the other is bad. The bad news is that the planet only 9 years left to save the climate emissions cut unless you want to exceed the ‘extra’ 1.5ºC warming on that date In theory, this should not be reached by 2100. The good news is that nonetheless, the world’s three biggest polluters (China, India, and Europe) are moving towards decarbonization faster than expected.

The report, released during the summit by the Global Carbon Project, a renowned global panel of more than 100 scientists examining the impact of carbon on the global climate, gave a clear idea of ​​how things are going. Briefly, according to this research; Compared to the pre-industrial era, the probability of exceeding the fate figure of 1.5ºC in 9 years is 50%. That horizon is set for 2100, but not for the next decade, which makes the forecast much worse.

Experts conclude that half the probability of this rise lasting so long is due to playing Russian roulette in practice, and experts are determined to take “radical and urgent” measures so that the bullet does not touch us in this fateful game.

Emissions increase in 2022

In fact, the latest known data on warming doesn’t exactly row in favor of the planet. In 2021, emissions rebounded after the pandemic bracket and there was great anticipation for what would happen in 2022. Well, the Global Carbon Project’s estimates show that: This year will end with a particularly new 1% increase in CO2 emissions compared to 2021.. It may seem like a small thing, but when sudden and serious drops are expected, any increase is a loss.

global emissions Global Carbon Project

The culprit behind this increase in 2022 is the boom in the use of oil (its emissions increased by 2.2%) and coal (1%), as those from gas decreased by 0.2% and those from cement use by 1.6%. All experts agree on this post-pandemic aviation recovery It is one of the biggest contributors to this 1% global increase in emissions in 2022.

How do you know we have nine years left to reach a 1.5ºC increase? Most importantly, the Global Carbon Project takes into account the amount of gigatons of CO2 released into the atmosphere annually. It’s easy to calculate when this ‘reserve’ will run out, given that humanity will reach 1.5ºC of warming when another 380 gigatons of CO2 is released and only 40.6 gigatons will be emitted by 2022. Carbon dioxide that can still be released before reaching the fate limit set by the Paris Agreement.

almost impossible task

The authors of the report do not think that emissions can be reduced to the required extent in such a short time. In fact, reaching 2100 with ‘only’ 1.5ºC of warming until then it will be necessary for each year to have decreases similar to those recorded during the pandemic. Covid in 2020.

“We don’t have green growth when Covid is over. We continue to have an increase from the use of fossil fuels”, Global Carbon Project member Philippe Ciais confirms.

Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project and Principal Investigator of the CSIRO Center for Climate Science in Canberra (Australia), was quite clear in a recent meeting with journalists: At the end of the century, the world is moving towards a warming of 2.4ºC. The difference between 1.5ºC and 2.4ºC can be abysmal, according to all the scientific studies that paint a really bleak picture in the latter case. And yet, it already seems most likely.

climate refugees Shaiful Huq Omi

If carbon emissions into the atmosphere continue at the current rate over the next four or five years, the planet will exceed 2ºC. “We’re heading straight for that scenario, even more than 2.4º,” he said. And he added that current extreme weather events already predict the future: “Extreme weather events are now going beyond what we think. Maybe we didn’t quite imagine what a world with 2º more would be like,” Canadell warned.

some hopes

But isn’t there any positive news to hold onto? There is. On the one hand, the increase in emissions does not stop, on the contrary, it slows down. It increased by 3% annually in the 2000s, but only 0.5% in the last ten years. On the other hand, China, India and Europe, three of the largest emitters of CO2, are on track to meet their decarbonization targets sooner than initially envisaged in their national targets.

Another report published by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) and overlapping with similar ones, China is giving an impressive boost to clean energy, so emissions will fall by 0.9% in 2022. However, there are other factors as well, such as the slowdown in its economy and the high reforestation rate performed by the Asian giant.

In India, too, renewable energy is experiencing a phenomenal rise. And while this country remains highly dependent on coal (India’s emissions increased by 6% in 2022 compared to 2021), reductions are expected to be large enough to reverse the tortilla in the same decade. coal is marginal compared to renewable energy sources.

Third industrial power with significant discounts, The European Union will see its emissions fall by 0.8% in 2022, especially due to the 10% decrease in natural gas due to the war in Ukraine.

offshore wind turbines verified

In the United States, however, it will increase by 1.5% due to increased consumption of gas used to get rid of coal. But the United States is currently the second largest investor in solar and wind power after China and will generate 85% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

ECIU report, “Fast price cuts mean wind and solar power is now much cheaper than fossil fuels”a fact that encourages many governments and investors to row in this direction.

“The window of time is shrinking”

Now, despite these glimmers of hope, experts stress that “the time frame is shrinking.” Promising hopes or commitments for the future are no longer enough, concrete and immediate measures and far-reaching.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced last month that it forecasts that fossil fuels will reach their peak consumption by 2030 and then begin to decline to switch to renewable energy sources. However, the disappearance of hydrocarbons will not be abrupt and will be a slow and gradual decrease, which will cause a large amount of emissions into the atmosphere for many years.

Therefore, the overall vision of the situation throws There is more shadow than light on the future of humanity in the medium term.

Full Carbon Global Project report:

ECIU report:


Contact address of the environment department: [email protected]

Source: Informacion


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