Some good news on climate change (and a reality check)
But a close look at energy and emissions data around the world shows that there is some good news and plenty of potential progress to come.
For example, renewable energy sources represent an increasing share of the energy supply, and they become cheaper every year. Countries are setting new emissions reduction targets, and unprecedented public investment could unlock more technological advances.
Read on to find out why there are at least some reasons for hope.
As emissions hit new highs in 2022, the peak is in sight.
Emissions from fossil fuel sources were higher than ever in 2022, according to data from the Global Carbon Project. Global year-over-year growth was slightly above 1%, continuing a rebound from the 2020 low caused by the covid-19 pandemic. Overall, emissions have doubled over the past 40 years or so.
But while emissions have increased globally, many countries have already seen their own plateau or started to decline. Remissions in the United States peaked in 2005 and have declined by just over 10% since then. Russia, Japan and the European Union also experienced a plateau in emissions.
Global emissions are expected to peak around 2025, according to the International Energy Agency. Achieving maximum annual emissions is a milestone, the first step in the metaphorical overturning of the ship for greenhouse gases.
But emissions continue to grow in some countries, including China (currently the world’s largest emitter) and India, both of which have growing populations and economies. China’s increase has been particularly strong, with emissions nearly doubling over the past 15 years.
The Chinese government has committed to the country reaching its peak emissions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2060. The peak could come even earlier, in 2025 or earlier, according to CarbonBrief’s analysis. The country is deploying renewable energy at record speed, roughly quadrupling installations over the past decade.
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