DUBAI – Global carbon emissions are forecast to reach a record in 2023, driven higher by strong emissions growth in China and India, according to a major global study released on Dec 5.

The annual Global Carbon Budget analysis, released during the COP28 United Nations climate talks in Dubai, predicts that emissions from burning fossil fuels will increase by 1.1 per cent above 2022’s levels to reach 36.8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) in 2023.

A gigatonne is a billion tonnes.

Consumption of coal, oil and gas is expected to rise in 2023 from the previous year, according to the analysis by the Global Carbon Project consortium, which conducted the peer-reviewed study.

The trend is worrying because 2023 is set to be the hottest year on record.

Emissions would have to fall sharply this decade if the world is to have an even chance of limiting warming to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels, the United Nations’ climate science panel says.

Another year of record CO2 emissions means the world could hit the 1.5 deg C guardrail by 2030, according to this latest global study.

The Global Carbon Budget report is produced by an international team of more than 100 scientists. It analyses huge amounts of energy data and estimates what happens to all the CO2 when it is in the atmosphere.

For instance, the analysis looks at the Earth’s natural carbon sinks, such as forests and oceans, which absorb large amounts of CO2.

China produces roughly a third of all global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use. And in 2023, China’s fossil fuel CO2 emissions are projected to increase by 4 per cent, driven mainly by strong growth in oil and gas consumption.

Growth in 2023 is partly caused by a delayed rebound from China’s Covid-19 lockdowns.

India’s CO2 emissions are forecast to jump by 8.2 per cent in 2023, propelled by sharp increases in emissions from coal, oil, gas consumption and cement production.

India’s emissions from coal are projected to rise by 9.5 per cent, largely on rising demand for electricity, with new renewable energy capacity unable to meet the sharp demand growth for power, said the analysis.

India is responsible for 8 per cent of mankind’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use.

Emissions from international aviation and shipping (2.8 per cent of global emissions) are projected to increase by 11.9 per cent in 2023

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