Abstract

A review of global CO2 emissions over the last century shows that emissions from 80 economies contributed to 95% of global emissions. Among them, 55 economies were decarbonizers, where CO2 emissions had either plateaued or were declining, while 25 economies were polluters, where CO2 emissions were still increasing. In 2021, the global CO2 emissions were 37.1 Gtpa, with 56% coming from polluters and 39% from decarbonizers. If current trends continue, global CO2 emissions will reach 49.6 Gtpa by 2050, with 81% coming from polluters and 14% from decarbonizers. Only 14 economies will reach net zero. The decarbonization target, over and above current efforts, to achieve net zero is calculated for each economy. Decarbonizers need to mitigate 230 Mtpa CO2 and polluters 1365 Mtpa CO2 beginning in 2021 to reach the net-zero target by 2050. This target will increase each year decarbonization is delayed. Analyses show that renewable energies’ share in the total final energy consumption in most economies increased by an average of only 4 percentage points in the last decade, which is inadequate for achieving net zero by 2050. Other means of decarbonization, including low-carbon fossil solutions through carbon capture and storage, will be needed. Pathways to accelerate decarbonization are proposed and their policy implications are discussed.

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