Global emissions of CO2, the main greenhouse gas, are expected to rise 4.9% in 2021, a report on global carbon emissions reveals. This increase comes after a record drop of 5.4% recorded in 2020.
According to a report by the Global Carbon Project published Thursday on the total carbon emissions recorded in the world, carbon dioxide emissions, responsible for global warming, resumed their rise in 2021 after a year of unprecedented decline, mainly linked to to the coronavirus pandemic.
The report presented on the sidelines of the COP26 World Climate Conference, which is currently being held in Glasgow, shows that after a significant drop in CO2 emissions linked to the coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in curfews, lockdowns, transportation restrictions in most economies around the world, levels have returned to the pre-covid period.
This is the case for the United States, European Union countries and India, while China has increased its emissions even more compared to the period before the pandemic. The latter country in particular, the world’s largest polluter, did not participate in COP26 and at the same time announced the increase in its coal production.
This announcement comes as most industrial countries are trying to reduce this fossil fuel, the combustion of which emits more CO2 than all other fuels. A coal plant emits 1,058 gCO2e / kWh (grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced, editor’s note) against 443 gCO2e / kWh for natural gas, 778 gCO2e / kWh for heavy oil or even 10 gCO2e / kWh for wind power.
According to the study, which did not take into account this recent news announced by China, the emissions that return to the use of coal in 2021 will exceed the level before the pandemic. But they will remain above the record level recorded in 2014.
The same goes for emissions resulting from the use of natural gas, they will reach their highest level ever reached in 2021. On the other hand, oil remains below 2019 levels.
Globally, CO2 emissions in 2021 are expected to rise 4.9% after the 5.4% drop recorded in 2020, reaching a level of just 0.8% lower than in 2019, according to figures put forward by the study.
And to achieve carbon neutrality, countries must achieve a reduction of 1.4 trillion tonnes each year to achieve decarbonization by 2050, says the Global Carbon Budget 2021.