According to the report by the Paris-based monitor, communities throughout the world released more carbon dioxide in 2022 than in any previous year going back to 1900. This means that carbon dioxide emission was record high in 2022. Significant fossil fuel producers like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Shell announced record profits only a few weeks ago.
Post-pandemic growth in air travel and an increase in the use of coal as a cheap energy source in urban areas resulted in this record high CO2 emissions. Experts criticized this data as concerning. They have warned that energy consumers worldwide must drastically reduce emissions to halt the severe implications of global warming.
According to the International Energy Agency, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions brought on by energy production increased by 0.9% to 36.8 gigatons in 2022. According to the study, global CO2 concentrations reached a new high of 417.2 parts per million (ppm), an increase of 2.5 ppm from levels in 2021. Now, atmospheric CO2 levels are 51% higher than pre-industrial levels. The CO2 absorption of the ocean sink has decreased by around 4%, while that of the terrestrial sink has reduced by about 17% as a result of climate change.
Figure: Yearly total worldwide CO2 emissions – from fossil and land-use change – between 1959 and 2022. For the Global Carbon Budget 2020, 2021, and 2022 versions, in billions of tonnes of CO2 per year (GtCO2).
Carbon dioxide is emitted when fossil fuels like oil, coal, or natural gas are burnt to power vehicles, buildings, residences, and factories. The International Energy Agency notes that several nations switched back to cheaper coal amid the energy crisis brought on by Russia and Ukraine war. The long-awaited end of the lockdown brings more passengers and associated emissions. Worldwide air travel in 2022 was around 69% of pre-pandemic levels.The International Air Transport Association reported that overall air travel increased by 39.7% in December 2022 compared to December 2021. Emissions in the United States increased by 0.8% as a result of structures using more energy to survive the severe temperatures.
Why is CO2 terrible?
As CO and other gases, such as the shorter-lived but more powerful methane, enter the atmosphere, they trap heat and contribute to climate warming. As the gas reaches the atmosphere, it retains heat and contributes to global warming. The main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, accounts for around three-quarters of emissions. It may stay in the atmosphere for a very long time. This is an issue because the greenhouse effect is becoming out of control due to carbon dioxide.
As the Carbon dioxide emission was record high in 2022, the problem of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions needs to be addressed more than ever. This issue can be addressed through a combination of strategies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and implementing sustainable practices. Countries must fund renewable energy sources, increase energy efficiency, and electrify industry and transportation. The government should place a high price on carbon emissions, stop deforestation, plant more trees, and should get rid of coal from the power grid.
Here are some approaches that can help mitigate CO2 emissions:
Transition to Renewable Energy
Promoting the use of clean and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power. Encouraging investment in renewable energy technologies and infrastructure.
Improving energy efficiency in various sectors such as buildings, transportation, and industries. This can be achieved through energy-efficient appliances, insulation, smart grid systems, and efficient manufacturing processes.
Encouraging the use of public transportation, walking, and cycling. Promoting the adoption of electric vehicles and supporting the development of charging infrastructure. Investing in research and development of alternative fuels like hydrogen.
Reforestation and Afforestation
Planting trees and restoring forests helps absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Supporting initiatives protecting existing forests and promoting afforestation programs to increase carbon sinks.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
Develop and implement technologies that capture CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial facilities. Store the captured carbon in underground geological formations or use it in industrial processes.
A shift from Fossil Fuels
Reducing reliance on fossil fuels by phasing out coal-fired power plants and transitioning to cleaner alternatives. Encouraging the use of natural gas as a transitional fuel while working towards a low-carbon future.
Carbon Pricing and Policy
Implementing carbon pricing mechanisms such as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems to create financial incentives for reducing emissions. Supporting policies and regulations that encourage sustainable practices and penalize high-emitting activities.
Fostering global collaboration to tackle climate change. Encouraging countries to set and achieve emissions reduction targets, share best practices, and support developing nations in adopting sustainable technologies.
Consumer Choices and Awareness
Promote awareness about the impact of individual actions on climate change. Encourage sustainable consumption patterns, such as reducing food waste, choosing energy-efficient products, and supporting eco-friendly companies.
Research and Innovation
Investing in research and development of new technologies, such as advanced renewable energy systems, energy storage solutions, and carbon-neutral processes. Fostering innovation in sustainable practices across various industries.
It’s important to note that addressing CO2 emissions requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach involving individuals, governments, businesses, and international cooperation. Combining these strategies makes it possible to make significant progress in mitigating CO2 emissions and combating climate change.