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21 October 2022

Emissions must now fall twice as fast as they have increased

Emissions must fall 3.4 per cent year-on-year by to keep global warming to a “safe” level.

By Nick Ferris

Ahead of the next UN climate conference, Cop 27, which takes place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, next month, efforts to tackle climate change are firmly back on the international agenda. Yet despite nearly 30 years of such conferences, global emissions have risen at a faster rate than ever before in that time. 

Analysis by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) has found that emissions must fall 3.4 per cent year-on-year from a 2019 baseline for there to be a chance of global warming remaining “well below 2°C”, which is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change considers to be the limit of “safe” warming. This fall is more than twice the rate at which emissions have been rising over the past three decades.

The IEEP’s analysis highlights the inequality evident in global emissions, with the world’s richest 1 per cent driving twice the carbon emissions of the poorest half of the world’s population between 1990 and the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. 

Current evidence suggests that a rapid turnaround of the kind the IEEP says is needed is unlikely. The latest forecast from the International Energy Agency showed that the world was on course for a 1 per cent rise in emissions in 2022.

[See also: Greta Thunberg: “Our politicians will not come to the rescue of planet Earth”]

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