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expert reaction to the 2022 Global Carbon Budget

The Global Carbon Budget report for 2022 has been published in Earth System Science Data.

This Roundup accompanied an SMC Briefing.


Dr Steve Smith, Executive Director of Oxford Net Zero and CO2RE at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, said:

“The Global Carbon Project is a truly international collaboration of scientists. It’s a great resource for researchers and policymakers alike.

“Every tonne of fossil CO2 dumped into the atmosphere raises global temperature, and raises it permanently. By levelling emissions in recent years, we have slowed the acceleration, but we are still warming at record speeds. Now we have taken our foot off the accelerator, we need to apply the brake. Only by ending all CO2 emissions – or balancing emissions with removals – will we come to a stop.”


Dr Robin Lamboll, Research Associate in Climate Science and Policy, Imperial College London, said:

This thorough work combines many lines of evidence to assess the total carbon we are releasing. The story it shows is grim. For emissions to continue rising during this crunch in the price of oil and gas is incredibly disappointing – it should have been a reminder of the fragility of the fossil-fuelled economy. The report should remind negotiators at COP27 that their actions so far have been inadequate. The report’s calculation for the time to cut emissions before we exceed 1.5 degrees uses a slightly older climate model, more recent analysis suggests we need to take action even faster if we are to meet this target.


Prof Eric Wolff, Royal Society Professor of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University, said:

“To stabilise the climate we need to reach net zero, where the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is balanced by what is removed. This thorough annual accounting shows that we are nowhere near that: far from falling towards zero, emissions are actually going up.  This shows the task that COP27 negotiators have: not just to get the world to promise net zero, but to start moving towards it now.”


Prof Mark Maslin, Professor of Climatology, University College London (UCL), said:

“The nations of the world are meeting in Egypt at COP27 to agree large scale cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.  The ultimate aim is to get to net zero emission by 2050.  Prof Friedlingstein and colleagues have published their Global Carbon Budget for 2022 and it is deeply depressing.  This year carbon emissions rose by 1% compare with 2021 and are at the highest level ever.  To have any chance of staying below the international agreed 1.5˚C global warming target we need to have large annual cuts in emissions – which there is no sign of. Their detail analysis shows this increase is due to increased use of coal and oil – with oil being the largest contributor mainly due to us flying more.   There is good news with emissions dropping in China (0.9%) and the EU (0.8%), but these are offset by emission increases in the USA (1.5%) and India (6%), with the rest of the world rising by 1.7%.  This report sends a clear message to the leaders at COP27 – emissions must come down rapidly now and the world needs to have significant cuts in global emissions in 2023 if we are to have any chance to keeping climate change to 1.5˚C – which at the current rate of emissions we will achieve in 2031.”


Dr Andy Wiltshire is the Met Office’s Head of Earth System and Mitigation Science (ESMS), said:

“This latest report shows global carbon emissions have rebounded past post-COVID levels, ending hopes of a green recovery and an emissions peak. The good news is the emission growth rate appears to have slowed; the bad news is keeping to 1.5C without a temporary overshoot now requires steep and urgent emission reductions.”


Prof Vanesa Castán Broto, Professor of Climate Urbanism at the University of Sheffield and IPCC expert, says:

“The results of the Global Carbon Budget 2022 are bleak. The report explains that carbon emissions are continuing to rise, and that, if this continues, it will lead to an increase in global average temperature to above the 1.5°C limit in just 9 years. This limit is significant because it indicates that climate change will reach a very destructive stage in a single decade. As the IPCC explained in the AR6 Working Group II report, published in February 2022, every temperature increase, however small, reduces our ability to adapt to climate change.

“However, this report does not demonstrate a total lack of action on climate change. Indeed, there is widespread interest in responding to climate change and there is evidence of responses from the public and private sectors, and from NGOs, community organisations, and individuals. These efforts, however, are not enough. In my opinion, these voluntary efforts must be accompanied by agreements to regulate the use of fossil fuels, especially at the global level.

“The Global Carbon Budget data have a positive aspect, because they show that progress on the path to zero-carbon is possible in regions such as China and the European Union. The International Energy Agency has also recently published the 2022 World Energy Outlook, which explains that renewables are still on the rise. However, data from countries such as the United States are less optimistic and show the need, once again, for a global alliance to tackle one of the biggest problems of our generation.”



Global Carbon Budget 2022’ by Pierre Friedlingstein et al. was published in Earth System Science Data at 00.01 UK TIME on Friday 11 November.



Declared interests

Dr Steve Smith: “No conflicting interests.”

Prof Eric Wolff: “no conflicts of interest.”

Prof Mark Maslin: “no conflicting interests to declare.”

Prof Vanesa Castán Broto declares no conflict of interest.

For all other experts, no reply to our request for DOIs was received.

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