Findings show that countries will need to drastically drop emissions if irreversible climate change is to be prevented
While GCP researchers say fossil-fuel CO2 emissions fell by 7% last year, with the pandemic-lockdowns across nations, a comparison may not really be helpful.
The Global Carbon Project (GCP) findings, published in Nature Climate Change, say that even in the 64 countries where CO2 emissions are falling, these would have to fall 10 times faster if irreversible climate change with disastrous effects is to prevented. The 64 countries saw carbon dioxide emissions fall by 160 million metric tonnes per year over 2016-2019, from the average 2011-2015 levels. But, in parallel, emissions shot up by an average of 370 million tonnes annually in 150 countries. While GCP researchers say fossil-fuel CO2 emissions fell by 7% last year, with the pandemic-lockdowns across nations, a comparison may not really be helpful.
The GCP’s warning makes it clear that the global community has a long road to travel if the planet is to escape the worst of climate change by the turn of this century. Last week, a UN report said that going by signatories’ latest goals under the Paris accord, emissions will only fall by 0.5% by 2030. Juxtapose this with the need for the world to cut emissions by 50% if warming is to be kept under 1.5oC. As per a report in Bloomberg, the upper-middle income group of economies, which includes China, saw its emissions grow by 30% between 2005 and 2019, though emissions has fallen considerably since 2016. With the US looking to rejoin the Paris climate accord—it had walked out of it under the Trump regime—there is some reason for optimism. More so, since president Joe Biden seems committed to large investment under climate-friendly policies. India, too, as pointed out in this newspaper by Arunabha Ghosh of CEEW, has been doing well on reducing the emission intensity of its growth. But the need will be for all countries to adopt a path of green growth.