The world recorded a record number of carbon dioxide emissions last year. One of the main causes was the rebound in air travel after the coronavirus pandemic, published today the International Energy Agency. It also had a strong impact that many cities continue to bet on coal-based energy.
They were issued in total 36.8 billion tons of polluting gases, which represents an increase of 0.9%. The agency report details that the largest increase came from emerging markets in Asia.
Despite the record, it was not as bad as expected. The result of 2022 it was much less than the exceptional jump of more than 6% registered in 2021. The organization explained that this was achieved thanks, also, to the increased use of solar and wind energy. It also highlights the adoption of sustainable alternatives around the world, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps. But the agency warned that there is no reason to rejoice.
The record in carbon dioxide emissions fuels the climate emergency
The scientific community is baffled. They insist that everyone must consider, once and for all, drastically reducing emissions of polluting gases to curb the climate emergency.
“Any growth in emissions, even 1%, is a failure,” said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor of Earth system sciences and chair of the Global Carbon Project. “It is cut or chaos for the planet”, said in an interview with PA.
The director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, pointed against large industries. He said that they are not fulfilling his commitment. «International and national fossil fuel companies they are making record profits and they have to take their share of responsibility… It is critical that they review their strategies,” Birol said.
Carbon dioxide emissions from coal, specifically, increased worldwide by 1.6% last year. While those derived from burning Oil rose 2.5%, nearly half due to the aviation sector.
Europe and China registered a fall
Contrary to the global trend, emissions in Europe and China decreased. In the European Union they fell 2.5% compared to the previous year, but the agency explained that it was thanks to a lighter winter that reduced heating demand. The rise in natural gas prices also helped, which led industries to cut production.
China, although it continues as the largest emitter in the world, had a slight fall of 0.2%. This is related to weaker economic growth and a slowdown in the construction industry. Various measures implemented by the government of this country to contain the spread of COVID-19 and which limited the use of energy also had an influence.
In the United States, on the other hand, emissions increased 0.8%. Americans faced a winter with very low temperatures at the beginning of 2022, which fueled a higher demand for heating. The agency noted that these types of extreme weather events caused a fifth of the growth in emissions last year.