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Global carbon budget: Researchers predict peak value for global carbon dioxide emissions

Global carbon budget: Researchers predict peak value for global carbon dioxide emissions

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas continue to rise – and are expected to peak this year. According to the report on the global carbon budget, this is likely to reach 36.8 billion tons. This is 1.1 percent higher than in 2022 and 1.4 percent higher than in the pre-coronavirus year 2019, experts write about the so-called global carbon budget.

“The effects of climate change are clear all around us, but work on reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels remains painfully slow,” said Pierre Friedlingsteen, leader of the research team from Britain’s University of Exeter. The report was prepared by more than 120 experts and published on Tuesday in the specialized magazine Earth System Science Data published.

The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the air will average 419.3 ppm in 2023 (ppm, ppm). That’s 51 percent more than in 1750. “It seems inevitable that we will exceed the 1.5 degree target,” said Julia Pongratz, one of the lead authors from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The past few years have dramatically demonstrated how serious the consequences of climate change really are. However, every tenth of the temperature matters in the fight against the climate crisis, she added.

The emissions limit of the 1.5 degree target was reached within seven years

According to the agreement reached at the 2015 Paris climate conference, the average global temperature should rise by no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to what it was before the industrial revolution. The global carbon dioxide budget that can still be emitted to meet this target will be exhausted with a 50 percent probability at the 2023 emissions level within seven years, the experts wrote in the report. To keep global warming at 1.7 degrees, it would take 15 years, and at 2 degrees it would take 28 years, starting in 2024.

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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 global carbon dioxide emissions, released 4% more fossil carbon dioxide in 2023 than the previous year. On the other hand, the United States reduced these emissions by three percent and the European Union by 7.4 percent. In the rest of the world, there was a decline of 0.4 percent, which is a positive trend.

Reforestation cannot offset the effects of deforestation

There are no preliminary accounts for Germany in the report. Last year, fossil carbon dioxide emissions in this country fell by 1.9 percent. Compared to 1990, Germany was able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 36.8%, reaching 0.67 billion tons. This equates to a 1.8% share of global emissions.

Another topic that the report focuses on is so-called land use change, especially deforestation. As a result, an estimated 4.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere in 2023, according to the report. This is slightly lower than the average from 2013 to 2022, which was 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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For the first time, the report also shows the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through technical measures. However, these elements currently account for only 0.00001 billion tons of carbon dioxide. However, technologies such as direct removal of carbon dioxide from the air and its subsequent storage are needed, said 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 if 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.

You can find our reports on the UN COP28 climate conference currently taking place in Dubai here.