Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels are expected to reach record levels in 2023, despite declines in the U.S. and Europe, according to new research from the Global Carbon Project, part of a research collaboration informing current negotiations on national commitments under the Paris Agreement.
"It now looks inevitable we will overshoot the 1.5-degree Celsius target of the Paris Agreement, and leaders meeting at COP28 will have to agree rapid cuts in fossil fuel emissions even to keep the 2-degree C target alive," said Pierre Friedlingstein, study leader of the international research project that is part of the World Climate Research Programme supporting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"The impacts of climate change are evident all around us, but action to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels remains painfully slow," Friedlingstein said in a briefing release.
Global emissions from fossil fuel use are projected to rise 1.1% in 2023, despite declines in 26 countries that represent 28% of global emissions. The growth is expected in all fuel types. The 2023 edition of the project's Global Carbon Atlas also addresses emissions related to land use.
The U.S. and Europe top the list of countries with projected emissions decline in 2023, while India and China went the other way.
Emissions in China, which currently is responsible for 31% of global emissions, could increase 4% in 2023 partly due to increased coal use as well as a delayed rebound from significant COVID-19 lockdowns in 2022. Emissions in India, responsible for 8% of global emissions, are expected to increase 8.2% in 2023 from all fuel types.
The U.S., with 14% of global emissions, should see emissions drop 3% in 2023 with less coal and oil use. In the European Union, with 7% of global emissions, a 7.4% average decline is expected in 2023, as coal and natural gas consumption are driven down by increased renewables capacity and high energy prices, the research report said.
Global Carbon Project scientists said emissions will have to be cut nearly in half in the next seven years for any chance of meeting the goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
COP28 negotiations on countries' emissions reduction commitments were expected to run through Dec. 12.