But a close look at energy and emissions data around the world shows that there are some bright spots of good news and a lot of potential progress ahead.
For example, renewable sources make up an increasing part of the energy supply, and every year they become cheaper. Countries are setting new targets to cut emissions, and unprecedented public investment could unlock new technological advances.
Read on to find out why there are at least a few reasons for hope.
Although emissions have reached new heights in 2022, the peak is just around the corner.
According to the Global Carbon Project, emissions from fossil fuel sources were higher than ever in 2022. Global growth was just over 1% year-on-year, continuing to bounce back from 2020 lows caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, emissions have doubled over the past 40 years.
But while emissions have been rising around the world, many countries have already seen their own plateau or have begun to decline. Remissions in the US peaked in 2005 and have declined by just over 10% since then. Russia, Japan and the European Union have also seen emissions plateau.
Global emissions will peak around 2025, according to the International Energy Agency. Achieving the maximum annual emissions is an important milestone, the first step in turning the metaphorical greenhouse gas ship around.
But emissions are still rising in some countries, including China (the current world’s leading emitter) and India, both of which have growing populations and economies. Growth has been particularly sharp in China, where emissions have roughly doubled over the past 15 years.
China’s government has pledged that the country will reach its emissions peak by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2060. The peak could come even earlier, in 2025 or earlier, according to an analysis by CarbonBrief. The country is deploying renewable energy at a record pace, roughly quadrupling the number of installations over the past decade.