With two and a half months still to go, projections on how this year has been for the climate are exceedingly bleak. It is expected that this year will be the hottest on record, exceeding 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels in global average temperatures. And carbon dioxide pollution levels are expected to be up between 0.5 and 1.5 percent.
The emissions also grew in 2022 by 0.9 percent, for a total of 36.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emitted last year alone. The growth of emissions is not consistent across sectors and global regions, but even the most hopeful stories show that not enough is being done to tackle emissions across the board.
"It would be very unlikely that emissions decline in 2023," Glen Peters, research director at the CICERO climate research institute in Norway, told AFP.
The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 set up stringent plans to limit the increase in the average global temperature. The goal is to keep the trend below 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial average, or at the very least not exceed 2°C (3.6°F). So far, the worst polluters are not pulling their weight to make that happen.
“Global fossil CO₂ emissions need to decline >5 percent/year. This is just not happening.” Peters took to Twitter to make the important point. “Each year that emissions keep rising makes it even harder to reach the Paris targets & locks the world into even more climate impacts.”
The data the predictions are based on comes from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Reports from the organization have been a mixed bag of positives and negatives this year. With the rise of renewables, fossil fuels will probably peak this decade. That’s very good. But governments are still doing too little to support clean energy transition.
“Governments need to increase spending and policy action rapidly to meet the commitments they made in Paris in 2015 – including the vital provision of financing by advanced economies to the developed world,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a press release in 2021.
“But they must then go even further by leading clean energy investment and deployment to much greater heights beyond the recovery period in order to shift the world onto a pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050, which is narrow but still achievable – if we act now.”
The "Global Carbon Budget" report will be published in December. Also in December, there will be the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) taking place in Dubai.