Global Fossil CO2 Emissions to Reach Record Levels in 2023

Scientists expect record peak global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions this year, escalating climate change and intensifying destructive extreme weather.

During the Conference of Parties (COP28), the Global Carbon Budget reported that overall CO2 emissions had plateaued this year after hitting a record high in 2022, citing a minor decline in land use, like deforestation.

Scientists said countries might produce 36.8 billion metric tons of CO2 from fossil fuels in 2023, rising 1.1% from a year earlier. Furthermore, global CO2 emissions, including land use, are estimated at 40.9 billion tons this year.

Emissions from coal, oil, and gas have also increased, led by India and China. Beijing’s climb was due to a post-COVID reopening, while New Delhi’s stemmed from surging power demand outpacing renewable energy capacity, prompting reliance on fossil fuels to account for the deficit.

The current emissions direction is distancing the world further from preventing global warming from rising higher than 1.5°C above pre-industrial times.

Professor Pierre Friedlingstein stated that exceeding the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target seems unavoidable now, signaling a concerning development.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations pledged to maintain warming below 2°C and try to achieve 1.5°C. Scientists cautioned that overshooting 1.5°C will lead to irreversible effects like unsafe heat, destructive floods, and the demise of coral reefs.

To meet the 1.5°C limit, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stressed a 43% reduction in global emissions by 2030.

Instead, higher emissions have been observed in recent years. Despite a short-term issue in that trend due to COVID-19, world emissions have surged, returning 1.4% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

China’s Emissions Lead Higher Global Fossil CO2

Fossil CO2 emissions worldwide, including coal, oil, gas, and cement, rose by approximately 1.1% in 2023, marking a record high and ending 1.4% above pre-COVID levels in 2019.

China, which accounts for 31% of global CO2 emissions, is expected to see a 4% rise in its emissions this year due to increased emissions from coal (3.3%), oil (9.9%), and natural gas (6.5%).

The robust growth of Chinese emissions for 2023 is partially attributed to a late recovery from pandemic lockdowns.

Furthermore, India’s 2023 emissions are estimated at an 8.2% surge, driven by higher emissions in coal (9.5%), oil (5.3%), natural gas (5.6%), and cement (8.8%). The country represents 8% of world emissions.

India’s rapidly growing demand for electricity is essentially propelling coal growth. Despite substantial renewable energy installations, the country remains short of meeting increased demand.

Emissions from India now surpass those of the European Union (EU), but on a per-capita basis, they remain significantly smaller.

Meanwhile, reports show that the US and the bloc are expected to reduce nonrenewable waste energy in 2023.

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