Carbon Emissions: 2% Recovery Despite Covid-19

Climat et Finance

These carbon emissions must be controlled according to theInternational Energy Agency (IEA), which stresses the urgency of accelerating the energy transition. The implementation of more ambitious policies will have to be a priority. However, the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement and the 2021 climate agenda offer hope for a cleaner future.

Strong recovery in carbon emissions

A 6% reduction in carbon emissions in 2020 is a deception

Carbon emissions decreased by 6% in 2020 compared to 2019, a first since World War II. 2 billion tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) were thus not sent into the atmosphere.

However, the reality is less optimistic. According to the latest IEA report, “after reaching a low point in April, global emissions have rebounded sharply”. An increase of 2% was thus noted in December 2020 compared to 2019.

The situation is explained by the recovery of economic activity and transport, especially air transport. However, the decrease in electricity demand has reduced GHGs by 450 million tons.

Unambitious state policies?

In addition to the return of traffic, the IEA points to the weakness of the policies carried out by the States. The report states that “rapid structural changes in the way we use and produce energy are needed. In 2020, the Agency had already urged states to put clean energy at the heart of their stimulus plans.

In France, last February, the administrative court of Paris ruled that the French government’s climate inaction to reduce GHGs was illegal. The participants of the Citizens’ Climate Convention also consider the decisions taken by Emmanuel Macron to be insufficient.

Finding the balance between energy security and climate objectives?

States must meet their climate ambitions while ensuring the country’s energy security. However, many countries remain dependent on fossil fuels, including emerging countries like India, Brazil and China.

In China, for example, electricity is largely generated by coal. The world’s largest issuer is the only one to have grown thanks to a rapid lifting of restrictions. It has thus experienced a 0.8% increase in its GHG emissions for 2020 compared to 2019.

In the United States, GHG emissions have decreased by 10%. But by the end of 2020, the curve was close to that of 2019. With the rising price of natural gas and the onset of winter weather, the country has had to rely on coal.

Containing global warming and strengthening renewable energy

Limit global warming to 1.5°C

At theParis Climate Agreement in 2015, countries committed to limiting global warming to 1.5°C increase. To achieve this goal, 500 million tons of CO2 per year would have to be produced less by the energy sector alone.

For their part, major world powers are aiming to achieve carbon neutrality quickly. China is aiming for 2060. TheEuropean Green Deal sets 2050 as the target for the European Union, the same target as the Americans.

Numerous events for the climate in 2021

The new year started well with the return of the world’s second largest polluter, the United States, to the Paris Agreement. President Biden has also decided to hold an international climate summit in April.

Other international meetings will be held such as the COP26 in Glasgow in November. The UK is indeed very ambitious, aiming for a 68% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality for the UKCS by 2050.

RE accounts for 90% of the increase in global energy capacity in 2020

Renewable energy is expected to be the primary source of energy for electricity generation by 2025. For the year 2020, they represent more than 90% of the increase in total global energy capacity.

Faced with declining demand for oil and coal, companies such as Shell are accelerating their energy transition. Shell, for example, has set a target of 2050 for achieving carbon neutrality. Total claims to produce 100 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

These companies are therefore investing more in wind, solar and hydro projects. The market for electric vehicles is growing rapidly.

Finally, it is time to learn the lessons of the health crisis. The climate objectives can only be achieved through the unlimited commitment of states, companies and citizens.

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