Scientists thought carbon emissions had peaked. They’ve never been higher. – The Washington Post

Source: Scientists thought carbon emissions had peaked. They’ve never been higher. – The Washington Post

Near the end of 2020, as the covid-19 pandemic continued to rage, a few climate scientists and energy experts made a prediction. They estimated that emissions from fossil fuels — which had just plummeted thanks to the global pandemic — might never again reach the heights of 2019. Perhaps, they speculated, after over a century of ever more carbon dioxide flowing into the atmosphere, the world had finally reached “peak” emissions.

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They were wrong.

According to a report released last month by the Global Carbon Project, carbon emissions from fossil fuels in 2022 are expected to reach 37.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the highest ever recorded. That means that despite the continued fallout from the coronavirus pandemic — which caused emissions to drop by over 5 percent in 2020 — CO2 emissions are back and stronger than ever.

In fact, carbon emissions from fossil fuels in 2022 are expected to reach 37.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the highest ever recorded, according to a report released last month by the Global Carbon Project.The report outlined a few of the reasons the scientists failed to anticipate this trend:
For the past half-century, carbon emissions have consistently fallen during crises that caused economic upheaval. The coronavirus pandemic, which locked billions of people indoors, was no exception. But emissions have bounced back as pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted.Before the pandemic, coal appeared to be on the decline. But amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, the fossil fuel has had a resurgence, with some European countries leaning again on coal to keep energy prices low.While developed countries have been able to afford transition to renewable energy and reduce emissions, developing nations are still seeing increases in pollution. For emissions to truly peak, richer countries would need to make even bolder moves to slash pollution or to help poorer nations fund the switch to renewables.
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