CO2 emissions have decreased in 64 countries in the past years, but global emissions still rose by 0.21 billion since increases continued in 150 countries. The latter group still produced tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly from 2016 to 2019, which was higher when compared to earlier years between 2011 and 2015.
Researchers from the Global Carbon Project, the University of East Anglia (UEA), and Stanford University have been studying the progress made after countries committed to cut down CO2 emissions when they signed the the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015. The study containing the researchers’ findings was recently published in Nature Climate Change, entitled ‘Fossil CO2 Emissions in the Post-COVID Era”. Study authors are saying that commitment is not enough as it takes carrying out real actions in order to meet the zero-emission level aimed for in year 2050.
The efforts on containing the coronavirus pandemic last year greatly helped in reducing the global emissions by 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, if comparisons are made against the 2019 figure. However, the researchers are saying that the reductions brought by the year 2020 cannot be expected to continue. Resumption of businesses in 2021 will still see heavy reliance on fossil fuels, while lockdowns are not a good solution in tackling the climate crisis.
In order to meet the 2026 goal of the UN Paris Agreement, the planet still needs to cut down 1 to 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. The goal is to keep the global warming within 1.5 °C to below 2 °C. The climate scientists are claiming that within a few years, the emission will continue to increase; not unless the economic recovery measures from the COVID-19 crisis will direct investments toward promoting green economies and use of clean energy. The most common example is the development and wide use of electric cars, which manufacturers claim are being rushed. Moreover, people are encouraged to walk or use their bicycle as doing so would also improve both the environment and public health.
Significant Factors that Helped Countries Reduce CO2 Emissions
The significant factors that helped several countries curb the growth of carbon dioxide emissions are the continuous legislations of climate change policies and laws. To date and on a global scale, there are more than 2000 climate policies and laws in place.
Countries like Germany, UK, Switzerland, Denmark and some EU members, have limited their investments in activities that make use of fossil fuels, while some even came up with green stimulus packages. According to study co-author Professor Rob Jackson of Stanford, improving the dedication of countries to attain the net zero emissions in 2050, will strengthen the pursuit of that ambition. Currently countries who are leading with the highest count of emissions are US and China.