Global CO2 emissions mainly caused by burning fossil fuels are set to rebound in 2021 to levels seen before the Covid pandemic, according to an assessment that served as a "reality check" to vague decarbonisation pledges at a UN climate summit. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Science and technology

Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels are set to return to near record levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, according to a new scientific analysis released on Thursday.

The analysis was published as the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26) entered its fifth day in Glasgow, Scotland in another attempt to agree on a plan of action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

"Globally, we estimate that global fossil CO2 emissions will rebound 4.9% in 2021 ... returning near their 2019 emission levels," the Global Carbon Project said.

The research was carried out by experts from the University of Exeter, the University of East Anglia, the CICERO Centre for International Climate Research and Stanford University.

Fossil carbon emissions had dropped by 5.4 per cent amid COVID-19 lockdowns imposed almost worldwide, but according to the report, emissions resulting from gas and coal use are expected to grow more in 2021.

"The rebound in global fossil CO2 emissions in 2021 reflects a return towards the pre-Covid fossil-based economy. Investments in the green economy in post-Covid recovery plans of some countries have been insufficient so far, on their own, to avoid a substantial return close to pre-Covid emissions," Exeter's Global System Institute professor Pierre Friedlingstein was quoted as saying.

According to the expert, to achieve net zero by 2050, which is one of the targets of the COP26, emissions must be cut every year by amount comparable to that seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also warned that a further rise in emissions in 2022 cannot be ruled out if road transport and aviation return to pre-pandemic levels and coal use is stable.

Source: ANI / Sputnik