Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

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clv101
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Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by clv101 »

This bet only considers fossil fuel burn - not cement, land use change etc, or any Earth system responses... but, what do you think?

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I think Ken (a leading climate scientist, but one who doesn't subscribe to near term limits on fossil fuels, not a peak oiler) is probably going to lose. It's hard to see how we're going to exceed 2019's peak due to the 2018 oil production peak, US unconventional's likely collapse, Europe's demand slide, Covid's long term impact on travel (local and long haul), China's carbon reduction pledges etc. There just seem to be a lot of downward pressures to overcome for, say 2024 to top 2019.

Not confident to bet on it though!
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adam2
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by adam2 »

I very much doubt that carbon dioxide emissions have peaked.
The present reduction is in my opinion a very short term result of the pandemic, due largely to less flying and driving.
Many governments are offering, or considering offering, various subsidies, grants, or other bungs to airlines in order to "tide them over until normality returns"

UK carbon emissions MIGHT have peaked, due to the amount of renewable electricity now produced, I doubt however that world emissions have peaked.
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Little John
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by Little John »

If the methane clathrates are either mined or are released into the atmosphere on the back of a warming planet, all of that methane will be converted over time, in the atmosphere to co2 and will remain there for centuries.

So long as 7 million plus humans exist and so long as industrial civilization exists, co2 levels are not going down. Having said that, a die off is coming and, with it will eventually come a reduction in things like co2 emissions. But, failing someone letting off a load of fireworks off all at once, we are possibly 50 years away from that tipping point yet.
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BritDownUnder
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by BritDownUnder »

I don't think world emissions are peaked just yet. When I worked there, Bangladesh (155 million people) had the same installed generation capacity as New Zealand (5 million people). Indonesia has the same generation capacity as Australia. Then there is China and also India. China has a habit of saying one thing and doing another. I think they also have as a metric total historical CO2 emitted per capita as their limit. So China will entitle itself to emit the same historical per capita CO2 in supercritical coal burning stations at 45% efficiency as the UK did starting with the 2% efficient Stephenson's Rocket.

That's no reason why the UK and EU should not continue to reduce emissions. So long as there are also financial and national security benefits to it as well as the obvious climate change prevention then why not.
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by kenneal - lagger »

Little John wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:13 pm ..................... But, failing someone letting off a load of fireworks off all at once, we are possibly 50 years away from that tipping point yet.
I would like to see some data or information to back up that statement as I think it is just wishful thinking. We are already seeing massive methane blow out holes in Siberia where the tundra is thawing and releasing gas and scientists are reporting increasing bubbling of methane from water all over the Arctic. We may have passed that tipping point already.
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BritDownUnder
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by BritDownUnder »

Looks like atmospheric methane is on the way up same as CO2. Link
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by kenneal - lagger »

BritDownUnder wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:54 am Looks like atmospheric methane is on the way up same as CO2. Link
And the Militant or Ethical Vegan movement are going to blame that on cattle and ask for the human killing of animals to stop. Meanwhile deer and possibly bison now will replace the cattle and their methan as rewilding takes over much of the cattle lands. At least we won't be doing horrible, nasty things like killing and eating them!! Madness!

A lot of the methane is or hopefully was coming from leakages from fracking, the methane bloom, which was pointed out on another thread here a while ago, over the mid western states of the US probably came from that source. A lot now must be coming from Arctic tundra leakage.
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adam2
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by adam2 »

Atmospheric methane is a cause of considerable concern. It is a very potent greenhouse gas, much worse than carbon dioxide, and when it gradualy oxidises by natural processes, it adds to the existing carbon dioxide problem.
Sources include the leakage or escape of natural gas, the natural decomposition of dead vegetation, coal mining (includes disused coal mines), the belching of cattle and other ruminates, and various industrial processes.
Of particular concern is the defrosting of arctic tundra, which then decomposes, and as noted above the escape of methane clathrates as a result of mining or climate change.
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Re: Have we reached peak CO2 emissions yet?

Post by UndercoverElephant »

I think it is important to distinguish anthropogenic greenhouse emissions from the feedback effects like clathrate release. Both matter, but they obviously aren't the same thing.

I don't believe CO2 emissions have peaked yet, although it is probably close. There's too many unknowns about what the economic "recovery" after covid will look like. For example, to what extent will people's long-term behaviour have changed? How many people will permanently switch to working from home? Nobody knows.
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