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Emissions in 2021 set to rebound to pre-Covid levels, projects study | India News


GLASGOW: Global carbon emissions in 2021 are set to rebound close to pre-Covid levels and a further rise next year cannot be ruled out if road transport and aviation return to pre-pandemic levels and coal use is stable, show the findings of the Global Carbon Project – a widely recognised international research project.
Among the top four major emitters, China is projected to emit the most followed by the US, EU (27 nations) and India. Though the percentage growth is projected to be the highest in India this year, the country will still be in fourth position in absolute terms.
The report comes even as climate negotiators from over 190 countries are grappling with working out a common plan of action, including finalising rules for carbon market, to contain overall emission.

The report, released on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Climate Conference (COP26) on Thursday, shows though the carbon emissions globally dropped by 5.4% in 2020 amid Covid lockdowns, they are now projected to increase by 4.9% this year (4.1% to 5.7%) to 36.4 billion tonnes in total. Coal and gas use is growing more in 2021 than they fell in 2020. Emissions from coal use in 2021 are projected to be above their 2019 levels but still below their peak in 2014.
Emissions in the US and EU appear to be returning to pre-Covid trends of decreasing CO2 emissions. However, their emissions are higher than India in absolute terms. For the rest of the world taken as a whole, fossil CO2 emissions remain below 2019 levels.
The findings come as negotiators have also started discussing finer points of carbon markets (Article 6 of the Paris Agreement) so that its rules can be framed at COP26 for implementation. A new draft text on Article 6 was released on Monday. Though the carbon market is considered a tool to deal with the emission issue of big emitters, diverging views remain on issues with negotiators figuring out how to go about trading in ‘carbon credits’ which could actually help developing countries in the fast depleting carbon space scenario.
“The rapid rebound in emissions as economies recover from the pandemic reinforces the need for immediate global action on climate change,” said Pierre Friedlingstein of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute who led the study.
To have a 50% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, 1.7°C and 2°C, the researchers estimate the remaining “carbon budget” has now shrunk to 420 billion tonnes, 770 billion tonnes and 1,270 billion tonnes respectively – equivalent to 11, 20 and 32 years from the beginning of 2022.
“Reaching ‘net zero’ CO2 emissions by 2050 entails cutting global CO2 emissions by about 1.4 billion tonnes each year on average. Emissions fell by 1.9 billion tonnes in 2020 – so, to achieve ‘net zero’ by 2050, we must cut emissions every year by an amount comparable to that seen during Covid. This highlights the scale of the action that is now required, and hence the importance of the COP26 discussions,” said Friedlingstein.
The study shows that total global emissions have remained relatively constant in the last decade, averaging 39.7 billion tonnes CO2. Removals of emissions by forests and soils have grown in the last two decades while emissions by deforestation and other land-use changes remained relatively stable, suggesting a recent decline in net emissions from land-use change. “Based on the findings, atmospheric CO2 concentration is projected to increase by 2.0 ppm in 2021 to reach 415 ppm averaged over the year, a lower growth compared to recent years due to La Nina conditions in 2021,” said the study.
The Global Carbon Project is an international research project within the Future Earth research initiative on global sustainability, and a research partner of the World Climate Research Programme.

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