Carbon emissions will hit record high by 2023; IEA

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
  • Follow author on
Carbon Emissions
Representational Image

Greenhouse gases emission is likely to rise to record levels in the next two years as governments fail to “build back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report.

Carbon emissions will rise again in 2021 and 2022, after last year’s fall and 2023 is now on track to see the highest levels of carbon dioxide output in human history, equalling or surpassing the record set in 2018.

“We estimate that full and timely implementation of the economic recovery measures announced to date would result in CO2 emissions climbing to record levels in 2023, continuing to rise thereafter,” the report said.

Spending plans for clean energy allocated by governments around the world in the second quarter add up to $380 billion, making up just 2 percent of their total stimulus funds in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the IEA said. The figure represented around a third of what it envisioned was needed in order to put the world on course to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.

The reason for the sharp rise is that governments have failed to invest in green energy as they have sought to rebuild their economies from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fatih Birol 
Fatih Birol 
Executive Director – IEA

“The sums of money, both public and private, being mobilized worldwide by recovery plans fall well short of what is needed to reach international climate goals. (Countries) must then go even further by leading clean energy investment and deployment to much greater heights beyond the recovery period in order to shift the world on to a pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050, which is narrow but still achievable, if we act now.”

The IEA issued its evident findings yet on climate in a May report which said the world should not invest in new fossil fuel projects if it hoped to reach net-zero by 2050. 

Emissions are set to be 3.5 billion tonnes higher than the threshold needed to reach that goal, the IEA said. Two-thirds of the $380 billion earmarked for clean energy is set to be spent by 2023 and almost all the rest deployed by 2030, making for a rapid decline over the course of the decade with spending in 2030 sagging to less than a twentieth of the figure achieved in 2021.

Related: Cutting carbon is key to attain Paris Agreement target: Wood Mackenzie