CO2 Emissions Return to Pre-Covid-19 Levels in 2021: United in Science report

admin November 8, 2021
Updated 2021/11/08 at 7:16 AM

Multiple worldwide scientific organisations have issued a new study indicating that fossil fuel emissions from coal, gas cement, and other sources have returned to 2019 levels or are even greater in 2021. CO2 emissions from coal, oil, gas, and cement peaked at 36.64 GtCO2 in 2019, before plummeting by 1.98 GtCO2 (5.6%) in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Global emissions in the electricity and industrial sectors were already at the same level or greater in January-July 2021 as in the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, according to early estimates, according to highlights of the United in Science study released on Thursday.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is coordinating United in Science, which includes input from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Carbon Project (GCP), and others, the entire report will be published.

While emissions from vehicle transport decreased by approximately 5%. Aside from aviation and shipping, global emissions were about the same as they were in 2019, on average, during those seven months.

In 2020 and the first half of 2021, concentrations of all major greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (NO) – continued to rise, according to the report, with overall emissions reductions in 2020 likely reducing the annual increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases “but this effect was too small to be distinguished from natural variability,” it said.

United in Science has said that there is a good possibility that global average temperature will be at least 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) higher than pre-industrial levels in one of the next five years. In the next five years, the annual global mean near-surface temperature is expected to be in the range of 0.9°C to 1.8°C. There is a 40% probability that the average global temperature will be at least 1.5°C higher than pre-industrial levels in one of the following five years, but it is very improbable (10%) that the 5-year mean temperature for 2021–2025 would be 1.5°C warmer.

Coastal towns across the globe, as well as low-lying coastal regions, tiny islands, and deltas would need urgent adaptation measures, according to the study. Between 1900 and 2018, global means sea levels increased 20 cm, at an accelerated pace of 3.7+0.5 mm/yr from 2006 to 2018. Even if emissions are lowered to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, the global mean sea level is expected to increase by 0.3–0.6 metres by 2100. “Adaptation to this residual increase will be important — adaptation methods are required where they do not exist,” according to the study, “especially on low-lying coastlines, tiny islands, deltas, and coastal cities.”

“We’ve heard throughout the epidemic that we need to rebuild better in order to put mankind on a more sustainable path and prevent the worst effects of climate change on society and economy. This study demonstrates that, as of 2021, we are not on track,” stated WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“This study demonstrates how far we have strayed. The last five years have been one of the warmest on record. We keep destroying the things on which we rely for survival on this planet. Sea-level rise is increasing, the ocean is dying, and biodiversity is disappearing as ice caps and glaciers continue to melt. Fossil fuel emissions have returned to pre-pandemic levels this year. The concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to increase to new highs. There are now five times as many documented weather catastrophes as there were in 1970, and they are seven times more expensive. In the presentation of the study, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “Even the most developed nations have become susceptible.”

He went on to say that the UN climate talks (COP26) in November must be a watershed moment. “By then, all nations must have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by the middle of this century and must have shown clear, credible long-term plans to do so. We need all nations to submit more ambitious and realistic Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. Nothing less than that will suffice.”

On the margins of the General Assembly, Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have convened an informal, closed-door roundtable with a small but representative group of leaders of state and government on Monday, September 20. The Informal Climate Leaders Roundtable on Climate Action comes less than six weeks before the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and follows the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

According to the IPCC assessment released last month, the world may have missed the chance to limit global warming at 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. In all emission scenarios, including the one where carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fall quickly to net-zero about 2050, the 1.5°C global warming barrier is expected to be exceeded in the next 10 to 20 years by 2040.

According to UN officials, the conference will concentrate on a road map for the 1.5°C targets, climate mitigation, and adaptation funding, especially the promise by wealthy nations to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020.


Source: Hindustan Times

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