COP 22: CO2 Emissions Plateau Reached
Greenhouse gases emitted by burning fossil fuels would appear to have plateaued, delegates heard at the COP22 Climate Change conference in Marrakesh.
The Global Carbon Project chose the setting to unveil its annual look at the global emissions of greenhouse gases. It showed that there was a very slight rise – around 0.2% – in emissions meaning there have been no substantial rises for three years in a row. There was no growth in 2014 and a 0.7% rise in 2013.
Most of the credit for this leveling off in emissions can go to a slowdown in China, according to the report. However, although good news, the report points out that “emissions from the past two years were the highest in human history and 60% higher than in 1990.”
Last year 41% of total emissions came from coal burning, 34% from oil, 19% from gas, with cement production accounting for another 6%.
Another report, this time by Hare’s Climate Analytics, released at COP22 on Monday states that every coal-fired power station in the world should be shut down by 2060 if the Paris Agreement target of restricting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels is to be attained. The study points out that now there are 1,082 new coal plants planned for construction around the world, each with a life span of around 40 years. This flies in the face of action needed to restrict warming. Speaking at a press conference climate scientist Dr Bill Hare, said: “It’s pretty clear that the coal plans that some countries have are quite inconsistent with the Paris agreement.”
Meanwhile the World Meteorological Organization, which is represented at COP22, has announced that it expects 2016 to beat 2015 as the hottest on record. While the El Niño phenomenon is acknowledged to have an effect, global temperatures continue to be warmer even after El Niño ceased.
Also at COP22, leaders from African nations gathered for the ministerial meeting on Sustainability, Stability and Security (3S) in Africa. Organised by the Moroccan and Senegalese Governments, the meeting brought together 54 African Ministers with the aim of reaching an agreement between African countries on concrete measures against the environmental challenges that plague the continent.
Staying on the African theme, a press conference was held announcing the launch of the Co-ordination Unit of the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Abdelâdim Lhafi, COP22 Commissioner and High Commissioner of Morocco for Water, Forests, and the Fight Against Desertification said: “I am very pleased to announce this launch in the fight against Desertification and the co-agreement between Morocco and UNCCD. It is our intention during the Moroccan Presidency to find real solutions to this problem.”
The UNCCD is a convention to mitigate the effects of drought through National Action Programmes that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international co-operation and partnerships Agreements. The role of the new Partnership will be to co-ordinate over 50 African countries and enable them to take a communal approach to soil degradation.