Report: After a brief decline in the pandemic, global greenhouse gas emissions are rising again
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The new data set a cap for the year when global emissions first fell sharply due to restrictions on the spread of COVID-19. However, a brief stagnation as usual is not enough to avoid a more serious climate crisis. In order to prevent the more dire consequences of climate change, economies need to use clean energy in the recovery process.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement today: “The rebound in global carbon emissions at the end of last year is a clear warning that not enough has been done to accelerate the global clean energy transition.”
On a global scale, emissions need to fall steadily and rapidly to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to control global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius below the pre-industrial level. At present, humans have warmed the earth by more than 1 degree, and the effects of this can be seen in more severe droughts, fires, storms and heat waves.
According to top climate scientists, in order to prevent more catastrophic damage, it is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero by the middle of this century. This requires gradual steps: In this decade, the world needs to reduce emissions by nearly 8% every year. According to IEA data, the global pandemic has only reduced the overall annual emissions in 2020 by about 6%. Given that emissions rebounded so fast at the end of 2020, it is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done globally to truly achieve these goals.