By Paul Homewood
Near the end of 2020, as the covid-19 pandemic continued to rage, a few climate scientists and energy experts made a prediction. They estimated that emissions from fossil fuels — which had just plummeted thanks to the global pandemic — might never again reach the heights of 2019. Perhaps, they speculated, after over a century of ever more carbon dioxide flowing into the atmosphere, the world had finally reached “peak” emissions.
They were wrong.
According to a report released last month by the Global Carbon Project, carbon emissions from fossil fuels in 2022 are expected to reach 37.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the highest ever recorded. That means that despite the continued fallout from the coronavirus pandemic — which caused emissions to drop by over 5 percent in 2020 — CO2 emissions are back and stronger than ever.
Scientists have reacted with dismay. For years before the pandemic, emissions appeared to be leveling off — sparking hope that the world was finally reaching the moment when emissions would start to come down. Then in 2020, “Covid came, there was a huge drop in emissions — and I guess we got a little overexcited,” said Glen Peters, a climate scientist at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo.
Here’s why researchers were wrong about emissions peaking — and what it means for the future — in three charts:
This statement is very telling, coming as it does from a climate scientist:
“Fossil fuels are still the cheapest way to provide reliable electricity,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science. (While wind and solar can be cheaper than fossil fuels in some cases, their intermittency — and the absence of cheap, big batteries — mean that it’s difficult to build an entire electricity system out of just renewable energy.) “It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,” Caldeira said. “Developing countries have to put climate concerns second to their economic concerns.”
If anything, the situation is worse than portrayed, as China’s economy has still been hamstrung by brutal Covid lockdowns during 2022.
Anybody with an ounce of common sense would have known this was going to happen. And that emissions will carry on rising while ever developing nations want to grow their economies, or until something better than fossil fuels comes along.
It shows just how divorced from reality those pushing Net Zero agendas really are.