Inspenet, December 16, 2023.
A recent GCB report reveals that wildfires in Canada have contributed to rising fossil fuel emissions, reaching unprecedented levels in 2023. Only seven years of carbon budget are available before the world exceeds the critical limit of 1.5°C , according to a new study.
What does the GCB Report say?
The Global Carbon Budget (GCB) annual report provides a powerful perspective on the human actions needed to prevent runaway climate change. Global carbon emissions from oil, gas and coal have seen an increase of 1.1% from 2022 levels, totaling approximately 36.8 billion tonnes this year.
Should pollution continue on this trajectory, researchers from the Global Carbon Project team estimate that there is a 50% chance that global warming will sustainably exceed 1.5°C in approximately seven years .
” The effects of climate change are evident all around us, but action to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels remains painfully slow ,” says Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, a former IPCC author who led the study.
““It now seems inevitable that we will exceed the 1.5ºC target of the Paris Agreement and leaders meeting at COP28 will have to agree rapid reductions in fossil fuel emissions even to keep the 2ºC target alive.”, adds the expert, who works at the Global Systems Institute in Exeter.
The carbon concern
Considering changes in land use and the use of fossil fuels, it is estimated that total global CO 2 emissions will reach 40.9 billion tons in 2023. Although a slight decrease in emissions linked to deforestation is expected, these are still too high to be offset by the current pace of reforestation. The 2023 carbon narrative fits into a broader and worrying trend: a 10-year “plateau” in emissions that scientists say is far from the significant reductions urgently needed to meet climate goals.
However, for those on the front lines of climate change, these last 12 months have seen glaring crises, serving as a warning of what awaits us as we approach the critical limit of 1.5ºC. This year, global CO 2 emissions from fires have been above average, in part due to an extremely intense wildfire season in Canada.
It is important to mention that approximately half of the CO 2 emitted is still absorbed by natural sinks, both terrestrial and oceanic, while the rest remains in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. These natural sinks represent the most effective tool to counteract the emissions released. According to the report, carbon dioxide removal based on technologies such as CCS only accounts for about 0.01 million tonnes of CO 2 , which is more than a million times lower than current CO 2 emissions from fossil sources. .
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