Nov 20, 2019

New studies paint sobering climate picture

Photo: Planet Observer/Universal Images Group via Getty Image

Two new analyses signal how the world is far, far, far off-track from even preparing for steep emissions cuts, let alone making them happen.

Driving the news, part 1: A report Wednesday from the UN Environment Programme and several partners explores the "production gap."

  • "Governments are planning to produce about 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 2°C pathway and 120% more than would be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway," the report states.
  • It notes that the "production gap" is largest for coal, but that oil and natural gas use are "also on track to exceed carbon budgets" as countries invest in infrastructure that "locks in" these fuels.

The report is from groups including the Stockholm Environment Institute and the CICERO Center for International Climate Research. Reuters has more.

Driving the news, part 2: Bloomberg sums up a separate new report from the group Global Energy Monitor...

"China has enough coal-fired power plants in the pipeline to match the entire capacity of the European Union, driving the expansion in global coal power and confounding the movement against the polluting fossil fuel."

Where it stands: The reports follow last week's big International Energy Agency analysis which shows that existing and announced policies worldwide won't be nearly enough to rein in CO2 emissions.

  • It showed emissions growth slowing but still rising through 2040 absent stronger steps.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Coal is projected to see a record decline in 2019

Reproduced from Carbon Brief; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global coal-fired electricity production is projected to drop 3% this year, the largest decline on record, concludes an analysis from three think tanks published by the website Carbon Brief.

Why it matters: Reining in carbon emissions from coal-fired generation is a pillar of every major pathway for limiting temperature rise.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019

Why clean energy isn’t enough to tackle climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Forget renewable energy for a moment. To really fight climate change, the world needs to focus far more on cutting its use of oil, natural gas and coal.

The big picture: Like adding salad to your pasta doesn’t help you lose weight, adding cleaner energy to a world run on fossil fuels won’t cut greenhouse gas emissions. Yet that’s what we’re doing now.

Go deeperArrowDec 2, 2019

A half-empty glass on emissions

Data: Global Carbon Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

A major new report on global carbon dioxide emissions growth is largely bad news, but if you squint you can find some (rather small) bright spots.

Driving the news: The rate of increase decelerated this year as coal consumption dipped and economic growth slowed, but emissions still hit a record high, per new data from a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019