According to a new scientific study, the dramatic drop in carbon dioxide emissions that resulted from the pandemic lockdown has almost completely vanished in a puff of coal-fired smoke, much of it coming from China.
According to a group of climate scientists who track heat-trapping gases that contribute to climate change, emissions were slightly lower in the first nine months of this year than in the same period last year. Global carbon dioxide emissions will have reached 36.4 billion metric tons in 2021, according to their estimates, up from 36.7 billion metric tons two years ago.
According to updated calculations by the Global Carbon Project, emissions were down to 34.8 billion metric tons at the height of the pandemic last year, so this year’s increase is 4.9 percent.
In contrast to the majority of countries, China’s pollution increase was primarily responsible for global figures rebounding to 2019 levels rather than falling significantly below them, according to Corinne LeQuere, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and co-author of the study.
Some people may have believed that the world was on the right track in terms of reducing carbon pollution as a result of the dramatically improved air quality in cities from India to Italy in 2020, but scientists say that is not the case.
It is not the pandemic that will bring us around, LeQuere said in an interview at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, where she and her colleagues are presenting their findings. “It is the decisions that will be made this week and next week that are important. The fact that we have reached this point is what will enable us to turn around. There is no evidence that the pandemic is altering the character of our economy.”
When it comes to keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, the paper estimates that the world has only 11 years left at current emission levels before it is too late, according to the paper. Since the late 1800s, the world’s temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit).
“In fact, the carbon emissions numbers show that emissions (after adjusting for the drop and recovery from COVID19) have essentially flattened out at this point. The good news is that this is the case “Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University who was not involved in the report, expressed his disappointment. “The bad news is that this is insufficient. Our (emissions) must be reduced, and we must begin immediately.”
According to the findings of the study, emissions in China were 7 percent higher in 2021 than they were in 2019. In comparison, India’s emissions were only 3 percent higher than the global average. The United States, the European Union, and the rest of the globe, on the other hand, polluted less this year than they did the previous year.
LeQuere explained that China’s increase was primarily due to the burning of coal and natural gas, and that it was part of a big economic boost to help the country recover from the shutdown. Furthermore, she stated that because China’s lockdown ended far sooner than the rest of the globe, the country had a longer period of time to recover economically and pump more carbon into the atmosphere.
According to LeQuere, the “green recovery” that many countries have talked about in their stimulus packages would take longer to manifest itself in carbon reductions since recovering economies will first utilise the energy mix that they already have.
The figures are based on information provided by governments on topics such as power consumption, travel, industrial output, and other factors. This year, emissions averaged 115 metric tons of carbon dioxide per second, with 115 metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere every second.
“There is a significant likelihood that the year 2022 will establish a new record for global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels,” says Breakthrough Institute climate director Zeke Hausfather, who was not involved in the study.