Global carbon emissions are expected to rise nearly 5% from last year’s level

China is by far the world’s largest emitter being responsible for almost 30%

5 November 2021

New findings released by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) at COP26 revealed that projected global emissions in 2021 have rebounded 4,9% this year, following the 5,4% dip in 2020 in large part due to the pandemic. Fossil emissions would reach 36,4 billion tons of CO2, just 0,8% below their pre-pandemic high of 36,7 billion tonnes of CO2 recorded in 2019. The researchers expected “some sort of rebound in 2021” as the global economy is recovering but the increase “was bigger than expected.”

The rise in CO2 emissions is being driven by increased fossil fuel use in China and India. The world’s largest emitter and third-largest emitter are expected to be 5,5% and 4,4% higher, respectively, compared to the pre-pandemic level. Furthermore, China is now responsible for almost 30% of global emissions.

Meanwhile, emissions in the European Union are projected to rise 7,6% in 2021 but still remain at 4,2% below their 2019 levels. The increase was mainly driven by poor wind power generation this summer and a rebounding economy which led to higher demand for fossil fuels. Still, the European Union accounted for just 7% of global emissions.

Researchers warn that if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, there is a 50% chance to reach 1,50C of warming in nearly 11 years, confirming the findings in another report published in August by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that it is likely to reach this crucial limit in the early 2030s.