GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

The energy crisis, the coming winter and the release of pent-up pandemic demand have sent nations scrambling to stockpile fossil fuels, a move that portends a rebound for global carbon dioxide emissions this year. The trajectory poses a new threat to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°Celsius.

What

  1. China, India and other developing economies are driving the demand for coal, but even the US is poised to increase its consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuel in almost a decade, according to a forecast from the International Energy Agency.
  2. The world’s CO2 emissions peaked just prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, then in 2020 registered the biggest annual decrease since at least 1965, according to data from BP Plc.
  3. Releases of the greenhouse gas this year through August are just 1 per cent less compared with the same period in 2019, according to Carbon Monitor, an emissions monitoring group.
  4. The forecast for record emissions is a poor backdrop to the COP26 climate talks that will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
  5. The United Nations is urging countries to submit more ambitious emissions plans by the time the discussions get underway and officials from almost 200 nations are expected to gather for the fortnight of negotiations.
  6. Another factor that could spur emissions growth is new skepticism over renewables in the face of the energy crisis.
  7. Disruptions the past few weeks have sparked debate about the impact of the world’s transition to cleaner power.
  8. While some see evidence of the intermittency of wind and solar power, others see equivalent if not greater vulnerability from extreme price swings and volatility triggered by disruptions in fossil fuel supply chains and dependency on petrostates like Russia.