Press releases about business, cryptocurrency, fintech and more news in Hong Kong and Asia

Global CO2 emissions ‘to rise again’, climate goals at risk

Steam rises from the coal-fired power plant Niederaussem, Germany, in this Nov 2, 2022 file photo. (MICHAEL PROBST / AP)

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt – Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are on track to rise around 1 percent this year, scientists said on Friday, warning this would make it harder for the world to avoid disastrous levels of climate change.

Released during the United Nations COP27 climate summit, the Global Carbon Budget report laid bare the gap between the promises governments, companies and investors have made to cut planet-warming emissions in future years, and their actions today – which cause emissions to keep rising.

Countries are expected to emit a total 41 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2022, said the report by more than 100 scientists, with 37 billion tonnes from burning fossil fuels and 4 billion tonnes from uses of land like deforestation.

This year's increase was driven by higher oil use in transport – particularly aviation – as economies continued to reopen from lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: China leads in emissions reduction, IEA head says

Emissions from burning coal increased, as countries have turned to the most-polluting fossil fuel after Russia restricted natural gas supplies to Europe following the launch of its special military operation in Ukraine, which sent global gas prices soaring.

This year's increase was driven by higher oil use in transport – particularly aviation – as economies continued to reopen from lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic

CO2 output from China fell by 0.9 percent while European emissions also decreased slightly.

Emissions rose by 1.5 percent in the United States and jumped by 6 percent in India, the world's second and fourth-biggest emitters, respectively.

The UN climate science panel has said global greenhouse gases must decrease 43 percent by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5C and avoid its most severe impacts.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a record drop in global CO2 emissions in 2020, but emissions are now back up to slightly above pre-COVID-19 levels.

ALSO READ: US must 'make much deeper emissions cuts to meet climate goals'

It is difficult to predict emissions in coming years due to uncertainties around countries' longer-term response to the pandemic and Russian gas crunch, for example, whether they keep burning coal, or instead invest heavily in clean energy.