A multi-year period of global economic growth and stable carbon emissions, heralded as a potential peak of humanity’s contribution to climate change, is over. Emissions are up again this year by an estimated 1 to 3 percent, now at the highest point in history, according to a new report:
This is not what needs to happen, obviously. Every year we delay peaking emissions means we’ll have to reduce future emissions that much faster. Already, climate models are building in truly huge levels of untested CO2 removal technologies later this century to maintain an outside chance of keeping warming to relatively safe levels.
There’s a simple fact hiding here: Day in and day out, we are making this problem harder for ourselves the longer we wait.
There are still good reasons for hope: The large-scale trends of renewable energy, electrification, and urbanization are moving in the right direction — just not fast enough. Without additional incentives to speed that process up, the chances of keeping climate change in check are quickly fading.