Thursday, May 4, 2023

CO2 Emissions Promises and Where we Stand Now

The window for limiting global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius is closing rapidly, if it is not closed already. CO2 emissions from fuel have continued to grow year after year with the exceptions of a brief respite during the global financial crisis and the Covid-19 lockdowns. Even with China not recovered from their Covid-19 lockdowns, world CO2 emissions have resumed their climb. Total CO2 emissions for planet earth reached 40.6 billion tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2) in 2022, , with no sign of the decrease that is urgently needed to tackle climate change.

from the Global Carbon Project

Atmospheric CO2 level reached an average 417.2 ppm in 2022, 51% above pre-industrial levels. The land and ocean CO2 sinks continue to take up around half of the CO2 emissions, despite the negative impact of climate change.

In 2021, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 6%, compared with 2020 levels as economic activity and energy consumption increased once the initial economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic began to subside. In 2022 U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4%.  Despite this increase in total emissions, in 2021 and 2022 emissions were 207 MMmt (4%) lower than their pre-pandemic level in 2019.

Under the Paris Agreement, the United States has set a goal to reach 100 % carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035 and net zero emissions throughout the economy by 2050. The President also pledged an interim goal of a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. The EIA is forecasting that we will not achieve that goal.  Last month the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that they are forecasting that by 2030energy-related CO2 emissions fall to 25% to 38% below 2005 levels.

from EIA

In November, 2020 the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) adopted the Climate Mitigation and Climate Resiliency (CM/CR) Goals from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG):

By 2030

    1. Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 50% below 2005 levels,
    2. Achieve 100% renewable electricity in Prince William County Government operations
    3. Become a Climate Ready Region and make significant progress to be a Climate Resilient Region

By 2035
    Source 100% of PWC’s electricity from renewable sources

By 2050:
    Achieve 100% carbon neutrality in Prince William County Government operations

Prince William County is in the process of developing a Community Energy and Sustainability Master Plan (CESMP), which will serve as a roadmap for the county to reach its climate mitigation and resiliency goals.


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