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Analysis: Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels hit record high in 2022
Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement have increased by 1.0% in 2022, new estimates suggest, hitting a new record high of 36.6bn tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2).
The estimates come from the 2022 Global Carbon Budget report by the Global Carbon Project. It finds that the increase in fossil emissions in 2022 has been primarily driven by a strong increase in oil emissions as global travel continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Coal and gas emissions grew more slowly, though both had record emissions in 2022.
Total global CO2 emissions – including land use and fossil CO2 – increased by approximately 0.8% in 2022, driven by a combination of steady land-use emissions between 2021 and 2022 and increasing fossil CO2 emissions. However, total CO2 emissions remain below their highs set in 2019 and have been relatively flat since 2015.
The 17th edition of the Global Carbon Budget, which is published today, also reveals:
The remaining carbon budget keeping warming below 1.5C will be gone in nine years, if emissions remain at current levels.
The increase in global fossil emissions in 2022 was driven by a small increase in US emissions and a larger increase in Indian and rest-of-the-world emissions. Chinese emissions saw a small decline, while EU emissions remained largely unchanged from 2021.
Most of the increase in emissions was from oil. Coal saw a slight increase in emissions – somewhat smaller than might have been expected given the global energy crisis – while gas emissions remained flat and emissions from cement saw a slight decline
Global CO2 concentrations set a new record of 417.2 parts per million (ppm), up 2.5ppm from 2021 levels. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are now 51% above pre-industrial levels.
The effects of climate change have reduced the CO2 uptake of the ocean sink by around 4% and the land sink by around 17%.
Global emissions remain relatively stable
The Global Carbon Project estimates that global emissions of CO2 – including land use and fossil CO2 – will remain relatively high at 40.5GtCO2 in 2022, but still below their 2019 peak of 40.9GtCO2.
The authors note that these emissions “are approximately constant since 2015” due to a modest decline in land-use emissions balancing out modest increases in fossil CO2.
The 2022 report includes small revisions to emissions estimates from previous years. The new figures suggest that emissions in recent years have been a little higher than those reported in the 2021 budget. The largest changes are in land-use emissions, which account for approximately three quarters of the upward revision in the 2022 budget over the past decade.
The figure below shows 2022 (solid blue line), 2021(dashed blue) and 2020 (dashed red) global CO2 emissions estimates from the Global Carbon Project, along with the uncertainty (shaded area) of the new 2022 budget. The new 2022 budget lies roughly halfway between the old 2020 budget (which showed continued growth in emissions) and the 2021 budget (which showed flat emissions).
Annual total global CO2 emissions – from fossil and land-use change – between 1959 and 2022 for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 versions of the Global Carbon Project’s Global Carbon Budget, in billions of tonnes of CO2 per year (GtCO2). Shaded area shows the estimated one-sigma uncertainty for the 2022 budget. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.While the apparent flattening of emissions in the 2022 budget is better than a world of increasing emissions, this good news comes with a few important caveats.
First, to meet global climate targets of limiting warming to well-below 2C, emissions do not just need to stabilise. They need to decline rapidly, reaching net-zero emissions in the latter half of the 21st century. As long as emissions remain significantly above zero, the world will continue to warm.
Second, the uncertainties surrounding land-use emissions remain quite high. Therefore, it is hard to rule out a scenario where these emissions have actually continued to increase over the past decade. Further research and data collection is needed to provide a better picture of trends in global land-use emissions in recent years.
The figure below breaks down global emissions (black line) in the 2022 budget into fossil (grey) and land-use (yellow) components. Fossil CO2 emissions represent the bulk of total global emissions in recent years, accounting for approximately 91% of emissions in 2022 (compared to 9% for land-use). This represents a large change from the first half of the 20th century, when land-use emissions were approximately the same as fossil emissions.
Global CO2 emissions (black line) separated out into from fossil (grey) and land-use change (yellow) components between 1959 and 2022 from the 2022 Global Carbon Budget. Note that fossil CO2 emissions are inclusive of the cement carbonation sink. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.Global emissions from land-use are expected to be approximately 3.9GtCO2 in 2022. This is a slight decline from 2021 emissions, but the large uncertainty in the estimate makes it difficult to be confident in year-to-year changes.
Three countries – Indonesia, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – are responsible for approximately 60% of global land-use emissions. Land-use change emissions over time from those three countries (along with their estimated uncertainties) are shown in the figure below.
The Global Carbon Project finds that approximately half of the global emissions from deforestation (~6.7GtCO2 per year) are counterbalanced by reforestation (~3.5GtCO2 per year), while peat drainage and fires make a smaller contribution to emissions of around 0.8GtCO2.
The apparent decline in the net land-use emissions is likely driven by growing removals from reforestation, the report says.
Modest increase in fossil emissions despite declines in China
Despite a relatively modest increase of 1.0% in 2022 (with an uncertainty range of 0.1% to 1.9%), global fossil CO2 emissions will likely surpass the pre-pandemic high in 2019 to set a new record at 36.6GtCO2.
This represents a continued recovery in global emissions from the declines during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, as well as a failure of hopes that a “green recovery” could start taking emissions on a downward trend.
However, despite continued increases in fossil CO2 emissions, the rate of growth has slowed noticeably over the past decade.
The Global Carbon Project points out that “the latest data confirm that the rate of increase in fossil CO2 emissions has slowed, from +3% per year during the 2000s to about +0.5% per year in the past decade”.
The figure below shows global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, divided into emissions from China (red shading), India (yellow), the US (bright blue), EU (dark blue) and the remainder of the world (grey).
Annual fossil CO2 emissions for major emitters and rest-of-the-world from 1959-2022, excluding the cement carbonation sink as national-level values are not available. Note that 2022 numbers are preliminary estimates. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.The US will likely see emissions increase by around 1.5% in 2022, driven by a strong rise in gas emissions (+4.7%), a modest rise in oil emissions (+2%) and a strong decline in coal emissions (-4.6%).
The European Union (EU) is likely to see a 0.8% decline in emissions in 2022, driven by lower gas use associated with Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the resulting global energy market disruption.
EU demand for gas may be down by as much as 10% this year, while emissions from coal are expected to increase by close to 7% as it substitutes for high-cost gas.
In China, emissions declined by around 0.9% in 2022, primarily driven by continued lockdowns associated with Covid-19 that slowed both industrial activity and economic growth.
Chinese emissions show declines in emissions from oil (-2.8%), gas (-1.1%) and cement production (-7%), only showing a slight increase in emissions from coal (+0.1%). The Global Carbon Project notes that cement, in particular, played a large role in declining Chinese emissions due to a slowdown in the property market. (See Carbon Brief’s recent detailed analysis by Lauri Myllyvirta of China’s Q3 2022 emissions.)
Indian emissions are projected to increase by 6% in 2022, mostly due to a large (+5%) increase in coal emissions as well as higher (+10%) oil use as the transport sector recovers from pandemic declines.
The rest of the world (including international aviation and shipping) is projected to see a 1.7% increase in emissions, driven by a rise in coal (+1.6%), oil (+3.1%) and cement (+3%). Gas emissions in the rest of the world are projected to decline very slightly in 2022 (-0.1%).
The chart below shows total emissions for each year between 2019 and 2022, as well as the contributions from major emitters and the rest of the world countries. Annual emissions for 2019, 2020, 2021 and the estimates for 2022 are shown by the black bars. The coloured bars show the change in emissions between each set of years, broken down by country. Negative values show reductions in emissions, while positive values reflect emission increases.
Annual global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (black bars) and drivers of changes between years by fuel (coloured bars), excluding the cement carbonation sink. Negative values indicate reductions in emissions. Note that the y-axis does not start at zero. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.Global fossil CO2 emissions are now approximately 0.9% higher than in 2019. While emissions in the US, EU and the rest of the world remain below pre-pandemic levels, emissions in China are now 5.8% above 2019 levels and are 9.3% above 2019 levels in India.
The figure below shows how global and national emissions in the years 2020 (blue bars), 2021 (yellow) and 2022 (red) compare to 2019 emissions.
Percent change in CO2 between 2019 and 2020, 2021 and 2022 for the world as a whole and for major emitting countries/regions. Note that global emissions are inclusive of the cement carbonation sink, but national inventories are not. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.The Global Carbon Project also notes that emissions declined over the past decade (2012-21) in 24 nations despite continued domestic economic growth, bringing hope in long-term decoupling of CO2 emissions and the economy.
The 24 nations where emissions have declined over 2012-21. Source: Global Carbon Project.These 24 countries represent around a quarter of global CO2 emissions. Fifteen of these countries also had significant declines in consumption-based emissions, which account for emissions embodied in the import and export of goods.
Coal and gas hits record high emissions
Global fossil fuel emissions primarily result from the combustion of coal, oil and gas.
Coal is responsible for more emissions than any other fossil fuel, representing approximately 40% of global fossil CO2 emissions in 2022. Oil is the second largest contributor at 32% of fossil CO2, while gas and cement production round out the pack at 21% and 4%, respectively.
These percentages reflect both the amount of each fossil fuel consumed globally, but also differences in CO2 intensities. Coal results in the most CO2 emitted per unit of heat or energy produced, followed by oil and gas.
The figure below shows global CO2 emissions from different fuels over time. While coal emissions (grey shading) increased rapidly in the mid-2000s to support the unprecedented growth of the Chinese economy, it has largely plateaued since 2013. However, coal use increased significantly in 2021 and modestly in 2022, causing 2022 to slightly edge out 2014 and set a new record of 15.1GtCO2.
By contrast, gas (blue) and oil (red) emissions have steadily grown prior to the pandemic. Gas rapidly recovered from Covid-19 disruptions, setting new all-time records for emissions in both 2021 and 2022. Oil emissions, by contrast, still remain below pre-pandemic 2019 highs as travel has not fully recovered from its severe drop during the pandemic.
Annual CO2 emissions by fossil fuel from 1959-2022, excluding the cement carbonation sink. Note that 2022 numbers are preliminary estimates. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.Global coal emissions are projected to rise by around 1% in 2022, relative to 2021 levels, driven primarily by increases in India, the EU and the rest of the world, despite continued declines in coal use in the US.
Oil emissions are projected to rise by around 2.2% in 2022, compared to 2021. This has been caused by continued recovery of the transport sector from pandemic-related disruptions, though it will remain below 2019 levels.
Gas emissions are expected to decline slightly by around 0.2%, driven primarily by large declines in gas use in the EU associated with high energy costs due to the war in Ukraine.
Cement emissions are projected to decrease by around 1.6%, caused largely by declines in Chinese cement production for construction.
The total emissions for each year between 2019 and 2022, as well as the change in emissions for each fuel between years, are shown in the figure below.
Annual global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (black bars) and drivers of changes between years by fuel (coloured bars), excluding the cement carbonation sink. Negative values indicate reductions in emissions. Note that the y-axis does not start at zero. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.
The global carbon ‘budget’
Every year, the Global Carbon Project provides an estimate of the “global carbon budget”.
This budget is based on estimates of the release of CO2 through human activity and its uptake by the oceans and land, with the remainder adding to atmospheric concentrations of this greenhouse gas.
(This differs from the commonly used term “remaining carbon budget”, referring to the amount of CO2 that can still be released in the future while keeping warming below global limits of 1.5 or 2C.)
The most recent budget, including estimated values for 2022, is shown in the figure below. Values above zero represent anthropogenic sources of CO2 – from fossil fuels and cement (grey shading) and land use (yellow) – while values below zero represent the growth in atmospheric CO2 (bright blue) and the ocean (dark blue) and land (green) “carbon sinks” that remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
In short, any CO2 emissions that are not absorbed by the oceans or land vegetation will accumulate in the atmosphere. While observations of both emissions and carbon sinks have improved over time, the budget does not fully balance every year due to remaining uncertainties, particularly in sinks. On average, the budget imbalance is close to zero, but some individual years may have more emissions than sinks or vice versa.
Annual global carbon budget of sources and sinks from 1959-2022. Fossil CO2 emissions include the cement carbonation sink. 2022 numbers are preliminary estimates. Data from the Global Carbon Project; chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.The atmospheric CO2 concentration increased 2.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2021 and is projected to increase by around 2.5ppm in 2022, resulting in global atmospheric concentrations of 417.2ppm on average for the year.
This represents an increase in atmospheric CO2 of around 51%, relative to pre-industrial levels.
As the chart below illustrates, the fraction of CO2 emissions that end up in the atmosphere varies from year to year. The grey dashed lines shows that around 47% of total CO2 emissions have remained in the atmosphere each year over the past decade, with the remainder being taken up by ocean and land sinks.
The ocean carbon sink grew rapidly over the past two decades, absorbing approximately 26% of global emissions in 2022. The land sink has also continued to increase and is projected to absorb around 31% of global emissions in 2022. These sinks are expected to grow as CO2 emissions increase, as the amount of CO2 absorbed by both the ocean and land scales proportional to atmospheric concentrations.
However, these sinks cannot expand forever; effects of climate change – and the acidification of the surface oceans – are projected to weaken these sinks over time.
The new Global Carbon Budget report warns that climate change has already reduced the CO2 uptake of the ocean sink by around 4% and the land sink by around 17%, compared to a theoretical world without climate change.
If emissions continue to increase, the portion of global emissions remaining in the atmosphere – that is, the airborne fraction – will grow, making the amount of climate change the world experiences worse than it otherwise would be.
The Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh has been transformed into the epicentre of efforts to address the climate crisis as it hosts COP27.
But the coastline on which the UN climate conference is being held is more than just a backdrop for official negotiations.
The coral reefs that have long drawn tourists to the Red Sea peninsula are among the most biodiverse in the world. They are home to over a thousand different species of fish and around 350 coral species.
Mindful of their global importance, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a major new fund to support the local ecosystem.
The US agency has contributed $15 million (€14.9) to the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR), it revealed at COP27 on Tuesday.
This initiative is the largest global blended finance vehicle – whereby development aid is used to mobilise additional private or public funds – dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goal on ‘Life Below Water’.
The fresh injection of funds takes the total amount of money mobilised by the GCR since it was launched at the 75th UN General Assembly in September 2020 to $187 million (€185.9 million).
Why are Egypt’s coral reefs so important, and how will the funding help?
As well as being astonishingly beautiful and rich habitats in their own right, the fate of coral reefs is one of several major ‘tipping points’ that could push us into climate catastrophe.
As ocean temperatures rise, some reefs are being bleached almost every year. It has caused the deathly pale appearance of swathes of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Given their unique potential to withstand increasing impacts of climate change, the Red Sea reefs might be the most resilient on Earth.
Protection of ‘coral refugia’ reefs – those in climate cool spots – is critical as they offer the global community the opportunity to safeguard ecosystems. They can also act as seed banks that could bring degraded reefs back to a vibrant and productive state, explains Nicole Trudeau of the UN Development Programme.
“The Red Sea is home to a rich underwater ecosystem that attracts millions of tourists who create millions of jobs for Egyptians and bring in billions in foreign currency each year,” says USAID Chief Climate Officer Gillian Caldwell.
The funding will ‘incubate and scale’ business models that address local drivers of coral reef degradation – including overtourism.
It also aims to increase the resilience of local communities – a key part of GFCR’s approach in the 12 countries where it works, from Mozambique and Indonesia to Sri Lanka and Micronesia.
Development of the Egyptian Red Sea programme is led by the United Nations Development Programme Egypt Country Office.
“In the face of an intensifying climate crisis, USAID’s investment in the Red Sea Initiative will help to drive a nature-positive economic transition while boosting the climate resilience of coastal communities in Egypt,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner adds.
“[It is] demonstrating that change is possible when leadership, political will, and investment comes together.”
Many more ‘blue finance’ announcements – concerning mangroves and seagrass as well as reefs – are expected in the coming days at COP27.
A High Quality Blue Carbon Principles and Guidelines report, for example, is set to launch on Saturday.
“Nature-based solutions are being discussed at COP, but we still need to amplify the central role of nature in our climate mitigation and adaptation strategies,” marine conservation expert Josheena Naggea tells Euronews Green.
COP27 is the 27th Conference of the Parties (countries) that signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The convention was established at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and has been ratified by 198 countries. They agreed to stabilise the production of greenhouse gases in order to prevent dangerous climate change.
Since then, the Conference of the Parties has been hosted in a different country each year. These conferences broadly provide a platform for the negotiation of international climate change treaties.
The very first treaty acknowledged that the responsibility for action was different for developed and developing countries, because developed countries were responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite some gains, commitment to these treaties has not translated into the action necessary to shift the course of global climate change. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states that global average temperatures have already reached 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels and that warming of over 1.5°C is all but inevitable unless drastic action is taken.
Everyone is affected by climate change, but some people and regions are more vulnerable than others. Regions that will experience the most adverse impacts of climate change are West, Central and East Africa, South Asia, Central and South America, Small Island Developing States and the Arctic. Populations living in informal settlements will have the worst of it.
Vulnerability to climate change impacts is driven by socioeconomic, political and environmental factors. African countries have already experienced loss and damage due to climate change. For example, food production, economic output and biodiversity have all declined and more people are at risk of dying due to climate change in African countries.
The COP27 is therefore important because that is where decisions are made about how to respond to climate change.
Climate change treaties
Three international treaties have been adopted on international climate change cooperation. They led to the development of different bodies which all convene under the banner of the COP. COP is where they meet, negotiate and evaluate progress, even though COP technically only refers to the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The first treaty was the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The second was the Kyoto Protocol, established in 1997. Countries made commitments to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol was based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. It acknowledged that because of their higher levels of economic development, developed countries could and should take greater responsibility to reduce emissions.
The third and most recent treaty is the 2015 Paris Agreement. It covers climate change mitigation, adaptation and financing and aims to limit the rise in temperatures to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. All signatories need to develop a non-binding plan for climate change mitigation, including reducing emissions. They also have to report on progress.
A key weakness of the Paris Agreement is that it is non-binding. Also, the commitments are self-determined. A recent study found that even if all countries did meet their commitments, it would not be enough to limit warming to below 2°C.
It is important to understand and engage in these processes as the impacts of climate change are increasing globally. The increase in the global average temperature is one of several climate impacts. Others include increased likelihood of droughts or floods, and increased intensity of storms and wildfires.
The frequency of climate events will increase as temperatures rise. There is an urgent need for action to prevent global warming from rising above 2°C. Temperatures over 2°C will result in irreversible climate impacts such as sea level rise, and affect far more people than an increase of 1.5°C.
Responses to climate change
There are three policy areas which have emerged to respond to climate change.
The first is mitigation – the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to stabilise the climate. Examples of mitigation include replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, or developing electrified public transport to replace private vehicles powered by combustion engines.
The second is adaptation – interventions which would support climate resilience and reduce vulnerability. Examples include improved water management and conservation to reduce risk of drought, initiatives to improve food security and support for biodiversity.
The last policy area deals with loss and damage. Loss and damage refers to “the economic and non-economic damages associated with slow onset events and extreme weather events caused by global warming and the tools and institutions that identify and mitigate such risks.” Interventions to address loss and damage can include risk management support and finance which is often framed as climate reparations.
Mitigation and adaptation are well understood and established within climate policy. And they have finance mechanisms within international treaties, even though existing commitments to these mechanisms have not materialised in practice, particularly when it comes to adaptation. Loss and damage, however, has received far less attention in international treaties and negotiations.
Highlighting loss and damage
The Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage was established in 2013 to provide a framework to address loss and damage. It aims to improve understanding of risk management approaches, increase coordination and dialogue among stakeholders and enhance action and support.
The issue of loss and damage was incorporated into the Paris Agreement, but without any specific commitments around it. During negotiations at COP25, the Santiago Network was set up to avert, minimise and address loss and damage for developing countries but it focuses mostly on technical assistance rather than finance. At COP26 (in 2021) there was an agreement to fund the Santiago Network, but the institutional framework is not yet finalised.
Loss and damage was raised as an important issue to be addressed during COP26. There were some promising moves, such as the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, pledging £2 million towards a loss and damage finance facility. But many rich nations did not support this.
The negotiations led to the proposal to establish the Glasgow Finance Facility for loss and damage. But the wording of the decision was changed at the last minute to the Glasgow Dialogues, which committed to discussing arrangements for funding activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. This change has delayed any real financial support for loss and damage in the short term.
The world is, according to most, losing the climate change battle, but Algeria losing no hope is gearing up and can lead the way to combat climate change. It is a Fight against global warming for the collective effort of Africa.
COP 27: Algeria’s actions in the Fight against global warming for the collective effort of Africa.
By Dr Abderrahmane MEBTOUL
The temperature record is likely to become the norm, and not the exception and scientists continue to warn about global warming and call for emergency measures. Aware of the dangers threatening our planet, Algeria will be present at COP 27, which will take place in Egypt from 6 to 18 November 2022. The President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid TEBBOUNE, recently presented an ambitious plan for the fight against global warming in Africa. The goal unanimously adopted by the Organization of African Union (OAU) proposed the establishment of the Support Fund for Measures to Combat the Negative Impacts of Climate Change. It had been endorsed by the Peace and Security Council (PSC), urging developed countries to fulfil their commitments to limit climate deterioration.
1.-The context of the holding of COP 27 in Egypt
This crucial meeting engages the world’s security where UN reports predict an unprecedented drought between 2025 and 2030, with fires, a shortage of fresh water and, therefore, a food crisis. It is in an alarming context, with the last two years, 2021 and 2022, marked by extreme weather events such as mega-fires in the Amazon, California or Greece, drought in North Africa and Europe, continued deforestation in the Amazon, and floods in Pakistan. Fundamentally, if we fail to transition to a low-carbon world, it will threaten the integrity of the global economy.
Because the climate is a vast, interconnected system, any action in a specific area of the globe impacts the rest of the world. Since 1850, our planet has already warmed by an average of 1.1°C. According to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming could reach 1.5°C to 4.4°C by 2100. IPCC experts say global warming should be contained to +1.5°C by 2100 to prevent our climate from spiralling away. This limitation will be out of reach unless immediate, rapid and massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are achieved through carbon neutrality by 2050. Global warming has several adverse effects that threaten global security. Global warming is having disastrous consequences on the planet. It leads to rising sea levels, changing the oceans, amplifying extreme weather events and causing water to evaporate, which changes rainfall patterns. Global warming threatens plants and animals as the growth cycles of wild and cultivated plants are altered. Global warming is also disrupting human living conditions and increasing health risks: heat waves, cyclones, floods, and droughts, facilitated the spread of diseases and disruption of the distribution of natural resources, their quantity and quality, and agricultural yields and fishing activities. Thus, government commitments would only achieve 20% of the necessary emission reductions by 2030. Achieving the goals would require an investment of up to $4 trillion annually over the next decade, with most of these investments directed to developing economies. Global warming is not a vision of the mind being a global threat, and the highest Algerian authorities have become aware, especially with, on the one hand, torrential rains and, on the other hand, fires more and more frequent with sometimes criminal acts. But it is a question of distinguishing short-term actions in the face of emergencies from medium- and long-term measures that exceed the means of a single country; the efforts must be collective.
2.- Algeria’s actions against global warming: the national climate plan 2020-2030
For Algeria, a semi-arid country, the significant impacts of climate change are fires destroying thousands of hectares of forests, sometimes with many victims, not to mention material damage – as in 2021 in Kabylia and 2022 in the east of the country. A shortage of water resources, the degradation of water quality, the intrusion of marine waters at aquifers and the deterioration of infrastructure are caused mainly by water tables flooding. Algeria has adopted an ambitious plan against global warming because it has experienced, over the last century, a temperature increase of 0.3 ° C per decade as well as a rainfall deficit of 15%, requiring another water policy not unique to Algeria, which can lead to wars in the world. Algeria has opted for seawater desalination units throughout the country, particularly on the coasts where more than 80% of the population is concentrated. In Algeria, there are losses of up to 30% due to old pipes, making investments urgent as well as in water recycling units, another policy for agriculture by encouraging dripping, for example. The Albian aquifer is the enormous groundwater table in the world, with about 50,000 billion cubic meters, straddling three countries, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. 70% of the water table is in Algerian territory in the country’s southeast. A pipeline has been built between In Salah and Tamanrasset for its supply, and a reasonable policy without breaking the ecosystem (these aquifers are non-renewable) can boost agriculture. Algeria is committed to the fight against climate change. In 2015, it ratified the Paris Climate Agreement (COP 21). Long before, in June 1992, Algeria signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and ratified it in June 1993, having participated in the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 25), which took place in Madrid (2-13 December 2019). The Green Economy Recovery Plan aims to encourage recycling and promote green processing industries by establishing tax incentives for industrial companies that commit to reducing the emission of gases and chemical waste. In the field of gas flaring, efforts have made it possible to reduce gas flaring by 500 million m³ during 2020-2021. Sonatrach Oil and Gas Group has signed the Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 initiative, launched in 2015 by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank Group, to end routine flaring by 2030. Recently, Algeria has set up a National Climate Plan 2020-2030 covering 155 projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the negative impacts of climate change, and support climate governance. It has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 7%, a rate that could rise to 22% by 2030 if it can receive support for significant projects to adapt to climate change. Algeria has adopted a program to convert vehicles to LPG while creating national structures to implement strategies for producing clean energy. It includes green hydrogen, and the revival of the Green Dam project with a view to its expansion to an area of 4.7 million hectares in the coming years is part of this strategy to fight against global warming.
3.- Algeria’s solidarity potential
But it is mainly thanks to its great solar potential (3000 hours) that Algeria is in an excellent position to produce electricity. Having an ambitious program for renewable energies to combine thermal for export and photovoltaic solar panels for the domestic market. In mid-July 2011, Algeria took delivery of the hybrid power plant at Hassi R’mel, with a total capacity of 150 MW, including 30 MW from the combination of gas and solar. This is an exciting experience. Combining 20% gas, cleaner than coal and oil, and 80% solar seems essential to reduce costs and master the technology. The Algerian program consists of installing a renewable power of nearly 22,000 MW by 2030/2035, of which 12,000 MW will be dedicated to covering national electricity demand and 10,000 MW for export. According to the Ministry of Energy, in 2030, the goal is to produce 40% of its electricity needs from renewable energies. The amount of public investment devoted by Algeria to the realization of its renewable energy development program by 2030 was initially set (between 2019/2020) at 60 billion dollars, requiring a national and international public-private partnership. Recently, the delegation led by the European Commissioner for Energy, visiting Algiers, committed to promoting investment in renewable energies and green hydrogen, the power of the future 2036/2040; this segment, in partnership with Algeria through interconnections, there is an opportunity to export to Europe. But other partnerships are possible, especially with China investing in these niches.
In conclusion, the irony of history, according to a recent UN 2022 report, in its worst projection, a warming of the temperature of the planet beyond 4 ° C under the title “threat to the Nile”, one of its jewels is threatened with disappearance where with the rise in sea level caused by global warming,
“The sea will rise by one meter, consequently engulfing a third of the very fertile land of the Nile Delta and historic cities; the coastal city of Alexandria could be underwater by 2050.” It also threatens all coasts of the world, including the Algerian coast. Peace in this region is essential for calmly addressing the strategic subject of global warming and, therefore, the irreversible energy transition that will change the world’s energy and economic power between 2025/2030/2040. However, with the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, many countries have come to fall back on fossil fuels massively. Like most developing countries, Algeria is caught because air pollution is not their responsibility. the main culprits are the developed countries, China and Russia, and their commitments still need to be fulfilled under the second period of the Kyoto Protocol. It is the responsibility which lies primarily with the developed countries, significant polluters, with a catastrophic impact on developing countries, particularly in Africa where the commitments of COP 21 of the aid of 100 billion dollars have been very partially implemented. And the significant problem to be solved, a complicated equation, is to reconcile the legitimate development aspiration and the fight against global warming presupposing progressive adaptation strategies with the help of developed countries to achieve this transition. Let us hope this umpteenth meeting will propose concrete solutions to global warming.
Dr Abderrahmane MEBTOUL, University Professor, International Expert Doctor of State 1974
Director of Studies Ministry of Industry and Energy 1974/1979-1990/1995-2000/2006-2013/2015
Chairman of the Energy Transition Commission of 5+5+ Germany in June 2019
In the lead up to COP27 in Egypt, all eyes are on the region. The acceleration of the global energy transition poses critical challenges for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with the transformation evolving into an all-encompassing economic, social, and political project for the region. Exacerbating this shift are two main factors: the over-dependence on hydrocarbons, coupled with ongoing diversification drives and ambitious reform programs aimed at widening the economic base. MENA is one of the most climate-vulnerable regions, facing extreme high temperatures, worsening droughts and floods and sea-level rise. Importantly, given that climate change is a threat multiplier impacting the region’s growth and development, a proper response would require a multi-pronged approach, including policy, regulatory frameworks and sizeable financing. This piece primarily will focus on financing and on the role of existing international financial institutions (IFIs) and international organizations addressing this.
The need for diverse financing
Over the latest decades, climate disasters in the region have adversely impacted growth, fiscal (government) space and the external sector (exports, imports, financial flows). This has disproportionally affected fragile and conflict states, including communities at risk, aggravating poverty and inequality, and contributing to social tensions, migration and conflict. Therefore, to help MENA countries boost climate resilience, measures to promote climate adaptation and mitigation are a priority. More specifically, financing is needed to help scale interventions, from domestic to external sources, including the public sector, private and international sources.
Domestically, fiscal budgets need to incorporate climate adaptation– and mitigation-related investments, including adequate buffers to react to climate shocks, while simultaneously preserving debt sustainability. Governments in the region have benefited from financial solutions to meet their need for sustainable investments. In September 2020 and in an emblematic transaction, Egypt issued its first-ever green sovereign bond in the region, valued at $750 million, with a tenor of 5 years and an interest rate of 5.25%. Proceeds were earmarked for financing clean transportation, renewable energy, pollution prevention and control, sustainable water and wastewater management, energy efficiency and climate change adaptation. On the heels of this investment, preliminary data in 2022 suggest that Egypt is on track to achieving its Vision 2030 goal of increasing the proportion of green projects in its investment budget, from 14% in 2020 to 30% in 2022.
However, climate initiatives also require the mobilisation of private capital as a critical complement to that of the public sector. While banking systems in the Gulf remain well-capitalised, those in other countries remain weak, as in Algeria, Iraq and other fragile countries. Financial institutions in the region are characterised by concentrated lending to sovereign or government-led projects, reflecting the outsized role of the state, including exposure to national oil companies, through syndicated bank loan financing, which will squeeze local liquidity.
Leveraging international financiers and multilaterals
One way the international community provides climate financing to MENA is through multilateral, predominantly non-concessional terms and debt instruments, and through bilateral finance, primarily on concessional terms. Key contributors include European countries, with France (through Agence Française de Développement [AFD]) and Germany (through KfW or the German Agency for International Cooperation [GIZ]) taking the lead on individual country and regional programs – and a host of other peer nations, including Japan, contributing through other channels such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and multilateral climate funds (notably, the Clean Technology Fund and the Green Climate Fund). The Islamic Development Bank also plays a role in climate change initiatives, co-financing projects with the EBRD and others.
Other forms of IFI financing include senior or mezzanine debt or equity and can take on hybrid forms, such as blended finance. This is when an IFI’s own account finance (from its balance sheet) and/or commercial finance from other investors is ‘blended’ with concessional finance from donors, or third parties, to develop private sector markets. Indeed, a climate project is not fully commercial on a standalone basis and needs a temporary subsidy to enable its high-impact, without which it would not otherwise materialise.
The largest contributions are from the Clean Technology Fund, one of the two multi-donor trust funds under the Climate Investment Funds framework, with an estimated pool of $5.4 billion in funds. More broadly, amongst the various climate funds, between 2003 and 2022 an estimated $1.6 billion of financing was approved for over 139 projects, whose scope was largely centred on mitigation efforts, despite pressing adaptation needs in the region, especially for water conservation and food security measures. Out of the total funding approved for the region, $560 million (approx. ~30%) has taken the form of grants. The two top recipients, Egypt and Morocco, have respectively received 29% and 19% of the total approved climate finance in the region.
The rising market of blue finance emerged in 2014. In the same way, the green space developed in response to increased carbon emissions, the premise of blue being centred on contributing to ocean protection and improved water management – an ever-growing challenge in water-poor MENA. In January 2022, IFC released its Guidelines for Blue Finance, which delineated how to structure, evaluate and monitor blue bonds and loans. This framework is supported by The International Capital Market Association (ICMA), which acts as a repository for promoting internationally accepted standards of practice.
For both green and blue assets, external second party opinion providers and third-party verification is becoming increasingly important, especially in bonds and capital markets, to address risks of ‘greenwashing’–that is, portraying an asset, investment or initiative as Environmental Social Governance-aligned where no real sustainability impacts exist–and similar risks resulting from ascertaining what qualifies as blue, to ensure the use of proceeds are being properly directed.
Given the region’s level of water stress means blue finance may provide an innovative financing solution in the region, to address not only more sustainable practices in wastewater and sanitation services, but also coastal resilience and interventions, especially in countries like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, where erosion and increased flooding–together with overfishing in the Mediterranean–present a few challenges. The World Bank is currently engaged in the region through MENA Blue, whose program is designed to strengthen physical, social and economic resilience, through technical assistance and the mobilisation of climate finance.
Such developments, together with the growing trend of investors demanding more transparency and accountability, will ultimately dictate where capital goes, impacting financial flows and growth within these economies.
Galvanising regional momentum
As COP27 inches closer, in a part of the world where climate change is acutely felt, the MENA region is facing a tremendous opportunity to benefit from, and contribute to, the global energy transition. Despite the country-specific idiosyncrasies, the region has been able to innovate and experiment with new technologies and financial approaches, supported by the state, and regulatory frameworks.
Ultimately, as climate vulnerabilities continue in intensity and frequency, thereby increasing loss and damage, countries in the region need to obtain diverse sources of funding to tackle adaptation and mitigation, to determine how best to rebalance transition risk, while ensuring long-term economic viability moving forward.
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