Dirty peak: Global CO2 emissions have risen to record levels again in 2022, a new study shows. This is mainly due to the comeback of coal and oil. Scientists are horrified – but they also point out that we have had the solutions ready for a long time.

Global CO2 emissions have reached record levels again in 2022 after Corona-related savings in previous years. This is the result of the new annual report of the “Global Carbon Projects”, which was published on Friday. According to this, the global community emitted a total of 40.6 billion tons of CO2 this year, only slightly below the record value of 2019, when 40.9 billion tons of CO2 were emitted.

The figures contradict the efforts that would be necessary to achieve the internationally binding climate goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. In order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 with a probability of 50 percent, only 380 billion tons of CO2 may be emitted.

Based on the emission values ​​for 2022, this so-called “CO2 budget” would have been used up in nine years. The report is created jointly by more than 100 scientists with the help of measured values, satellite data, statistical surveys and model calculations.

“These numbers are shocking,” says Jan Minx, head of the Applied Sustainability Research working group at the MCC Berlin research institute. “We’re still stuck in the fossil age, even though it was a troubled time.” Minx was not involved in compiling the report. “What particularly worries me is the coal. All models assume that we are the first to say goodbye to coal. We are really on the wrong track there.”

The report essentially attributes the increase in emissions to three causes.

“These sinks must be maintained and further expanded,” demands Clemens Schwingshackl from the Department of Geography at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich, who also contributed to the report.

The emissions occur primarily in the tropical regions. Indonesia, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone were responsible for 58 percent of the emissions in the last decade. The World Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, decided last year to stop deforestation by 2030.

According to the researchers, regional differences were clearly noticeable this year. In Europe, for example, emissions fell by 0.8 percent, mainly due to savings in gas consumption.

Emissions also fell by 0.9 percent in China – on the one hand due to production losses due to the strict corona lockdowns, on the other hand due to the crisis in the construction sector, which led to a decrease in cement consumption. In the USA, on the other hand, CO2 emissions have increased by 1.5 percent and in India by as much as 6 percent. Globally, emissions increased by 1.7 percent compared to the previous year.

“We will not achieve the 1.5-degree target unless we change something drastically,” says Judith Hauck from the Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, a co-author of the report. “And that has to come from politics, with specifications and rules.”

There are “some positive developments, but nowhere near the far-reaching measures that need to be initiated now,” says Julia Pongratz, Professor of Physical Geography and Land Use Systems at LMU and part of the report’s core team. “We can achieve the 1.5 degree target. We have the technology, we have the capabilities. It is a question of political will.”

The Global Carbon Project report is released as world leaders gather at this year’s World Climate Conference in Egypt. According to a report by the environmental organization Global Witness and the Corporate Europe Observatory, a total of 636 lobbyists for oil, gas and coal were registered at the mammoth meeting in Sharm el Sheikh – 25 percent more than last year in Glasgow.

In a report published on Thursday, the two organizations calculated that the fossil industry with lobbyists is more strongly represented in Egypt than the ten countries most affected by the impending climate catastrophe. According to this, a total of 29 of the approximately 200 countries represented have oil, gas or coal lobbyists in their delegations.

A spokesman for the organizations called the extraordinary presence of these industry lobbyists a bad joke. “After all, tobacco lobbyists would not be welcome at health conferences, and arms dealers would not be welcome at peace conferences.”