To keep global warming below 2°C, emissions must fall twice as fast as they have risen since 1990

Projections from the Institute for European Environmental Policy show that, on average, annual global CO2 emissions must fall much faster to meet the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming well below 2°C.1.

  • Emissions are thus expected to be reduced by 3.4%, or 27% in total until 2030 compared to 2019 levels.
  • This target involves more than doubling the rate of increase in CO2 emissions over the past 30 years.
  • The latest IPCC modeling shows that the continuation of current policies does not prevent CO2 emissions from increasing, leading to global warming of 3.2°C by 2100.

Geopolitical upheavals and improved responses in recent decades have failed to stem the rise in emissions.

  • These models show that despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the 2008 financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic — which led to a slowdown in economic activity — CO2 emissions continued to increase at a average rate of 1.7% per year since 1990.
  • The world summits as well as the mechanisms put in place such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement have not made it possible to stem this increase.

As Lucas Chancel shows in a study published in our columns last June, global inequalities in terms of carbon footprint are particularly characterized according to the level of wealth.

The rise in emissions since 1990 is largely due to the rapid increase in emissions in China, which has had the effect of offsetting reductions in more developed countries — and sometimes even beyond.

Future summits thus have an urgent imperative of results in order to limit the increase in temperatures in the decades to come.

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