Carbon emissions from fossil fuels will hit record levels this year, according to a comprehensive analysis. The finding represents a brutal contrast with the need to cut emissions by half by 2030 to restrict global heating to 1.5C and avoid the most devastating impacts of the climate crisis. There is no sign of the decline needed, the researchers said, heaping further pressure on the countries whose representatives have met at the UN Cop27 climate summit in Egypt to deliver real and rapid action. Other scientists described the news as “bleak” and “deeply depressing”. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has made clear to world leaders at Cop27 this week what this means: “We are in the fight of our lives and we are losing. Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator,” he said. Continued emissions at this level would make 1.5+C of global heating become more probable than not in the next decade, the researchers said. Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as pledged by many countries, now requires an annual decrease comparable to the sharp fall in 2020 due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

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