International Energy Agency (International Energy Agency/IEA) on Thursday (2/3) reported that world carbon dioxide production will reach a record in 2022 compared to volumes produced since 1900. The increase is partly due to the post-pandemic recovery of air transport and more cities turning to coal as a low-cost source of electricity.
The IEA said climate-warming gas emissions caused by energy production grew by 0.9% to reach 36.8 gigatonnes in 2022. Whereas according to the United States Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the mass of one gigatonne is equivalent to around 10,000 fully loaded aircraft carriers.
Carbon dioxide is released when fossil fuels such as oil, coal, or natural gas are used to fuel cars and airplanes, as well as for household and factory consumption. When the gas enters the atmosphere, it traps heat thereby affecting climate warming.
Extreme weather events increased carbon dioxide emissions in the past year. These events include the drought which reduced the water discharge used for Hydroelectric Power Plants (PLTA) and heat waves. Both of these encourage increased demand for fossil energy.
Climate scientists have previously warned that energy use worldwide must be cut to reduce emissions dramatically in an effort to slow the consequences of global warming.
“Any growth in emissions — even 1 percent — is a failure,” said Rob Jackson, a professor of earth system science at Stanford University and chair of the Global Carbon Project, an international group.
The IEA reports carbon dioxide emissions from coal grew 1.6 percent last year. Many citizens, especially in Asia, are switching from natural gas to coal to escape soaring natural gas prices exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
IEA data shows global emissions have increased almost every year since 1900 and have accelerated over time. However, when the COVID pandemic hit the world in 2020, emissions decreased following a drastic decline in travel activity.
Last year’s emission levels, despite hitting record highs, remained lower than experts forecast. The IEA says increased adoption of renewable energy, electric vehicles and water heating technologies together helps prevent an additional 550 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. [ah/ft]
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