Sunday, December 10, 2023

Global Carbon Budget 2023

 The COP 28 meeting continues, but the news release last week from the Global Carbon Project is not good. Their report shows what a big lift it will be to meet the promises of the Paris Accord. 

The Global Carbon Project is an international research project and partner of the World Climate Research Programme. The Global Carbon Project aims to develop a complete picture (quite literally with incredible infographics) and integrates all the knowledge of greenhouse gases, human activities and the Earth system. They were founded in 2001 to fully understand the carbon cycle on our planet. Their projects include global budgets for the three dominant greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) and track growth in and source of emissions, performance against the Paris Accord commitments and efforts in urban, regional, cumulative, and negative emissions. The just released  Global Carbon Budget 2023 is the source of the below comments.

The people at the Global Carbon Project found that CO2 emissions from fossil use are projected to rise 1.1% in 2023, reaching 36.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2).  Growth took place in all fuel types (coal, oil, natural gas). This brings fossil CO2 emissions to a record high 1.4% above the 2019 pre[1]COVID-19 levels.

While emissions are declining in 26 countries, these efforts remain insufficient to reverse the growth in global fossil fuel emissions in China and India. Growth in total CO2 emissions for our planet – the sum of fossil and land-use change emissions are projected to be 40.9 GtCO2 in 2023. While growth in total CO2 emissions has slowed down over the past decade, emissions continue to grow leading to a continued increase in CO2 in the atmosphere and continued global warming.

from GCP

The atmospheric CO2 level is projected to average 419.3 ppm in 2023. This is 51% above pre-industrial levels. If current CO2 emissions levels persist, the remaining carbon budget for a 50% chance to limit warming to 1.5°C could be exceeded in 7 years - essentially eliminating any pathway to holding global temperatures within 1.5°C of preindustrial levels. Though many countries have reduced their fossil CO2 emissions or slowed the growth in emissions, progress is not fast enough and not widespread enough to put global emissions on a downward trajectory towards net zero. 

from GCP

The preliminary data for 2023 show global fossil CO2 emissions are set to reach a record high, with an increase of about  +1.1% (range 0.0% to 2.1%) relative to 2022 level, and expected growth in all fuel types. Projected 2023 emissions decrease in the European Union, USA, and to a lesser extent in the Rest of the World were exceeded by increases in emissions in India and China. Fossil fuel CO2 emissions in India are now above those of the European Union.

from Green Risks

In China (31% of global emissions), emissions in 2023 are projected to increase by 4% (range 1.9% to +6.1%) over 2022. A strong rise is projected for emissions from coal (+3.3%), oil (+9.9%) and natural gas (+6.5%). Growth in 2023 is partly caused by a delayed rebound from significant COVID-19 lockdowns in China in 2022.

In the United States (14% of global emissions), emissions in 2023 are projected to decrease by 3.0% (range -5.0% to -1.0%) over 2022. Decreases are projected for emissions from coal (-18.3%) and oil (-0.3%), while there is a projected rise in emissions from natural gas (+1.4%). The sharp decline in coal emissions is largely driven by a continuation of retirements of coal-fired power stations and cheaper natural gas since 2022. The rise in natural gas consumption in the power sector is largely offset by reduced heating demand resulting from milder winter temperatures in 2023.

In India (8% of global emissions), emissions in 2023 are projected to increase by 8.2% (range 6.7% to 9.7%) over 2022, with projected rises in emissions from coal (+9.5%), oil (+5.3%), natural gas (+5.6%), and cement (+8.8%). Coal growth is largely driven by high growth in demand for power, with new renewables capacity far from sufficient to meet this growth. Emissions in India are now above those of the European Union. India is building coal power generation. Just converting coal generation to natural gas would almost halve emissions. 

In the European Union (EU27, 7% of global emissions), emissions in 2023 are projected to decrease by 7.4% (range -9.9% to -4.9%) over 2022, with projected decreases in emissions from coal (-18.8%), oil (-1.5%), and natural gas (-6.6%). Consumption of both coal and natural gas have been driven down by increased renewables capacity and the continued effects of the energy crisis, with high energy prices and other inflationary factors leading to lower energy demand.

from GCP

International aviation and shipping (2.8% of global emissions) are projected to increase by 11.9% in 2023. It is believed by some that emissions from data centers has already exceeded that level and is growing at a very rapid rate.

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