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Staying within the 1.5C temperature limit

Global carbon dioxide emissions will have to fall quickly to limit the increase in average global temperature as modelling suggests that only a further 300 Gigatonnes of CO2 can be allowed to enter the atmosphere. In 2020, global CO2 emissions totalled 32 Gigatonnes of CO2, a decrease of 6% compared with 2019 due to the impact of the corona virus but emissions are expected to increase again this year. So immediate actions are required to reduce CO2 emissions to stay within this limit.

Carbon emission reduction targets

The new US President, Joe Biden, has set a new US target of 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 compared with 2005. He believes that this new goal would enable the USA to reduce its emissions to zero by 2050 (Paris COP 21 target) and that such a shift would create millions of sustainable new jobs. Other countries which have increased their targets include the EU, UK, Canada, Japan and Argentina while China, the world’s largest emitter, is still considering what target to adopt.
All these targets are preliminary to the COP (Conference of the Parties) 26 talks to be held in Glasgow, UK in late November. It is hoped that all 196 signatories will pledge NDCs (national declared contributions) that will put the world on a path to net zero by 2050.

UK wind farms set clean energy record

On May 3 this year there was sufficient wind which enabled UK wind farms to generate 48% of the UK’s electricity with a further 8% coming from solar and biomass. On August 16, 2019, UK wind energy peaked at 60% of the power mix.

In 2020, UK renewable energy output was 120 TWh whereas nuclear was down to 50 TWh. The average carbon intensity was 180 grams CO2 per unit of electricity generated, a reduction of 70% in the preceding 7 years and the UK’s National Grid is aiming for a carbon free electricity mix by 2025.



 

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