March 2, 2024

Science – Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are at an all-time high – Knowledge

Exeter (dpa) – Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil and natural gas continue to rise. It is expected to peak in 2023 at 36.8 billion tons annually, experts write in the report on the global carbon budget. This is 1.1 percent higher than in 2022 and 1.4 percent higher than in the pre-coronavirus year 2019.

“The impacts of climate change are evident all around us, but action to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels remains painfully slow,” research leader Pierre Friedlingstein from the University of Exeter, UK, said in a statement. More than 120 experts participated in the report, which was published in the journal Earth System Science Data.

A threatened climate target

The average greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air will be 419.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2023, which is 51 percent higher than in 1750. Munich, one of the lead authors of the report: “The past few years have dramatically shown us how serious the consequences of climate change really are.” However, every tenth of the temperature counts in the fight against the climate crisis.

The global average temperature should not rise by more than 1.5°C compared to the period before the industrial revolution – this was the primary goal of the Paris climate conference in 2015. The global budget for the carbon dioxide that can still be emitted in order to achieve this However, the possibility of achieving 50 percent at the 2023 emissions level will be exhausted within seven years, experts write in the report. It will take 15 years to keep global warming to 1.7 degrees, and 28 years to 2 degrees Celsius, starting in 2024.

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More emissions in China and India

Using a variety of carefully tested measurements and computer models, the researchers found that India emits 8.2 percent more carbon dioxide from fossil fuels this year than in 2022. The world’s most populous country now has higher emissions than the European Union. .

China, responsible for 31% of all global fossil carbon dioxide emissions, emitted 4% more fossil carbon dioxide in 2023 than the previous year. On the other hand, the United States reduced these emissions by 3.0 percent and the European Union by up to 7.4 percent. In the rest of the world, there was a decline of 0.4 percent, which is a positive trend.

There are no advance calculations for Germany in the report for 2023. Last year, the Federal Republic reduced fossil carbon dioxide emissions by 1.9 percent. Compared to 1990, Germany was able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 36.8%, reaching 0.67 billion tons (equivalent to 1.8% of global emissions). However, more efforts still need to be done in this country to save carbon dioxide.

Reforestation cannot continue

Another topic that the report focuses on is so-called land use change, especially deforestation. It is estimated that 4.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide will enter the atmosphere in 2023 due to changes in land use. This is slightly lower than the average for the years 2013 to 2022 of 4.7 billion tons. During this decade, 1.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide were removed from the air each year through reforestation, but this was not enough to offset the 4.2 billion tons per year of emissions caused by ongoing deforestation, especially in Brazil, Indonesia and Congo.

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Technology solutions are in their infancy

For the first time, the report also shows that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been reduced through technical measures. However, this currently represents only 0.00001 billion tons of CO2 – and thus far less than a millionth of current CO2 emissions.

However, technologies such as direct extraction of carbon dioxide from the air and its subsequent storage (Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage – DACCS) are needed, emphasizes Jan Menkes of the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in Berlin. “If we want to clean up the atmosphere at some point because we don’t want to live with 1.5 degrees of climate damage, we need these technologies.”

Experts hope that there are many countries that have significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and whose economies are still growing.

So-called carbon sinks continue to absorb about half of the carbon dioxide that humans release into the air. On land, it is primarily vegetation and soil, and in the ocean, certain chemical reactions remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But without climate change, the land depression and ocean depression could absorb much greater amounts of carbon dioxide. “These effects will become more pronounced as climate change increases,” said Judith Hauck of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:231205-99-182349/2