Monday, June 27

Fossil fuel emissions in danger of exceeding pre-Covid levels | Environment

The world has only a few months to prevent the energy industry’s carbon emissions from exceeding pre-pandemic levels this year as economies begin to recover from Covid-19 restrictions, according to the International Energy Agency.

New figures from the world energy watchdog found that fossil fuel emissions rose steadily during the second half of the year as major economies began to recover. By December 2020, carbon emissions were 2% higher than in the same month the previous year.

The return of rising emissions began just a few months after Covid-19 triggered the deepest drop in carbon dioxide production since the end of World War II, and threatens to destroy hopes that global emissions have peaked in 2019.

Dr Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, said: “We are jeopardizing the historic opportunity to make 2019 the definitive peak in global emissions. If governments do not implement the proper clean energy policies in the coming months, we may be returning to our carbon-intensive business as usual. This is in stark contrast to the ambitious commitments made by various governments one after another. “

The IEA was one of many influential groups calling on world governments to put in place plans to use green energy policies as an economic stimulus in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. However, an investigation by The Guardian revealed that only a small number of major countries began injecting rescue funds into low-carbon efforts such as renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy efficiency last year.

The agency’s first report to record monthly carbon emissions by region found a strong correlation between countries that implemented economic stimulus packages with a net environmental benefit, such as France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Germany, and those that have maintained at bay. the rebound of carbon emissions.

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Meanwhile, the countries that had made the smallest contributions to green economic stimulus measures, such as China, India, the United States and Brazil, posted strong carbon bounces in the second half of last year as their economies began to reopen.

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“This is a clear sign that governments did not include as many green energy policies in their economic recovery packages as they should. We warned that if the policies were not implemented, we would return to where we were before the crisis, which is what is happening today, ”he said.

China was the first major economy to emerge from the pandemic and removed restrictions, and the only major economy to grow last year, causing its emissions in the final month of the year to rise 7% above December levels. of 2019. 12% below 2019 levels in February last year, but for the year as a whole, China’s carbon emissions were 0.8% above 2019.

In India and Brazil, monthly carbon emissions recorded for December were 3% higher than at the end of 2019, a marked increase from the depths of lockdown restrictions in April last year, when India’s emissions were 41% lower than in 2019 and those of Brazil. 23% less than the previous year.

The EU also reached an emissions nadir last April of 22% below 2019 levels, and emissions remained 5% lower than the previous year in December, partly due to ongoing restrictions on the trips to help limit the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.

Birol said it is “not too late” for governments to prevent remissions from recovering to higher levels than before the coronavirus pandemic, “but it is becoming a very daunting task.”

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“The governments of all countries, and especially major economies such as the United States, China, India, Europe and Japan, must include clean energy policies in their economic recovery packages,” he said.

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