After decades of constant increase in CO2 emissions , a greenhouse gas , scientists at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) consider the possibility that 2024 will mark a milestone as it will be the first year in which the curve begins to decline. This would be a historic moment and an initial step toward “recovery” from global warming.
These scientists have published a report that predicts that 2024 will, in fact, be the first year in which emissions into the atmosphere decrease.
According to New Scientist magazine, CO2 emissions and the greenhouse effect have experienced constant growth on Earth since the Industrial Revolution and the year 2023 was no exception, as emissions increased by 1% compared to the previous year, as revealed by the Global Carbon Budget compiled by Pierre Friedlingstein at the University of Exeter.
However, according to these scientists, things could change in 2024 due to the unstoppable advance of renewable energies, which are managing to reverse the pernicious trend of CO 2 . Although the industrialization of the planet is not only stabilizing, but continues to increase, the greater weight of clean energy makes it possible to reduce these emissions without slowing down economic growth.
China and CO2 emissions
All previous forecasts, including those from the International Energy Agency (IEA), suggested that emissions from fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) would peak in 2025 and decline thereafter. gradually. However, the extraordinary performance of renewable energies and their continued expansion in the main industrialized powers (Europe, China and the United States) allows us to bring forward a long-awaited milestone year.
In addition, the progressive growth of electric vehicles , especially in China and some European countries, is another factor that contributes to making 2024 a key year. This year marks the “beginning of the end” for polluting fuels, although this end will not materialize overnight .
Notably, a report released last month by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) revealed that China’s emissions could peak in 2030, despite recent government approval for the construction of electric power plants. coal. However, efforts to decarbonize are even more significant.
Lauri Myllyvirta, senior analyst at CREA, suggested that considering China’s installed clean energy capacity, the country’s emissions are likely to see a “structural decline” starting this year. The most conservative forecasts pointing to peak emissions in 2030 now appear to be excessive, as an unprecedented expansion of renewable sources is anticipated.
At the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 was set, considered by experts as the only way to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Although achieving this goal is presented as a difficult challenge, some even consider it impossible, there is hope to avoid significantly exceeding that limit, or at least to maintain it for a limited period if exceeded.
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