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Delay Emissions: Climate Benefits Explained

Carbon Markets: Definitions

Delaying carbon emissions has a positive climate impact. In turn, delaying climate action is detrimental for humanity - we should fight climate change now. How can an investor do so? By buying EUAs, carbon allowances from the EU ETS.

Delay Emissions: Climate Benefits Explained
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Delaying carbon emissions has a positive climate impact. In turn, delaying climate action is detrimental for humanity - we should fight climate change now. How can an investor do so? By buying EUAs, carbon allowances from the EU ETS. 

CO2 emissions drive global warming, trapping heat and disrupting ecosystems. Once emitted, CO2 persists for centuries, perpetuating climate change. Delaying emission reductions makes achieving climate goals harder, such as those in the Paris Agreement aiming to limit global warming below 2°C. The IPCC confirms CO2's irreversible impact, with past emissions affecting climate for centuries. Timely action is crucial to stabilize temperatures and mitigate severe climate events like heatwaves and sea-level rise. Climate models suggest up to 5°C increases without swift action, risking global health and habitation. 

Buying and holding carbon allowances is equivalent to delaying CO2 emissions. During the time of investment, industries see the overall carbon budget available to the economy reduced. After the sale of your allowances, you indeed give those volumes back to the EU-wide cap. But delaying emissions by itself has a positive climate impact.

  • Avoiding Delay in CO2 Emissions: The Irreversible Consequences 
  • What are the implications of delaying emission reductions? 
  • What is the impact of delaying emissions on global temperature?
  • Why do we need a timely emission reduction?

Avoiding Delay in CO2 Emissions: The Irreversible Consequences 

What is the impact of CO2 Emissions without delay?

CO2 emissions are a major contributor to global warming and climate change. When released into the atmosphere, CO2 traps heat, leading to a rise in global temperatures and disrupting ecosystems worldwide. The harm caused by CO2 emissions is irreversible; once emitted, CO2 can persist in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years, continuing to contribute to climate change over time. Delaying emission reductions exacerbates this issue, making it increasingly challenging to achieve humanity's climate objectives.

Are carbon emissions reversible? 

For instance, research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underscores the irreversible nature of CO2 emissions. According to their latest assessment report, even if emissions were halted today, the impacts of past emissions would continue to affect the climate for centuries.

What are the implications of delaying emission reductions? 

Why is it difficult to reach climate goals if we delay emissions reductions? 

The decision to delay emission reductions has significant implications for global climate goals. Waiting until the last minute to reduce emissions makes it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the main climate target outlined in the Paris Agreement. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) states that there is an 80% likelihood that the annual average global temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the next 5 years.

What are the cumulative effects of emissions delay? 

Climate scientists at Imperial College London have conducted research on the topic - they found that extending the peak of global emissions by just 10 years could result in an additional temperature increase of approximately 0.5°C by the year 2100. This delay not only intensifies the severity of climate impacts but also reduces the window of opportunity to implement effective mitigation strategies.

What is the impact of delaying emissions on global temperature? 

Emissions delay and projected temperature increases

The link between delaying emission reductions and global temperature rise is well-documented in scientific literature. As emissions continue unabated, the Earth's temperature trajectory shifts upward, leading to more frequent and severe climate events such as heatwaves, storms, and sea-level rise.

What are the climate model projections without emissions reduction? 

Recent climate models and projections highlight the critical role of timely emission reductions in stabilizing global temperatures. The UCAR Center for Climate Education projects that with high levels of CO2 emissions, global temperatures could rise by up to 5°C above pre-industrial levels. Such an increase would pose severe risks to human health globally and could render many areas on Earth uninhabitable.

Why do we need a timely emission reduction? 

Is it too late to delay CO2 emissions?

Despite the challenges posed by delaying emission reductions, there are possibilities to mitigate these effects and accelerate climate action. Policymakers and stakeholders can prioritize investments in renewable energy sources, energy efficiency improvements, and sustainable transportation initiatives. By promoting innovation and scaling up clean technologies, countries can reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and curb emissions effectively.

How does carbon pricing and the EU ETS delay emissions? 

By purchasing physical spot carbon allowances, an investor effectively reduces the overall available carbon budget, thereby reducing carbon emissions released by industries today. When these allowances are later sold back as EUAs, the corresponding emissions may be released again by industry. However, delaying these emissions already has a positive climate impact, as described by the factors outlined above.

What is the impact of the EU ETS carbon market on climate change? 

Delaying emissions can incentivize industries to adopt greener technologies. This shift is facilitated by carbon markets and investors, which pressure industries to decrease their carbon footprint. Even if industries retain the option to release carbon in the future, adopting less carbon-intensive procedures can contribute significantly to keeping the planet within certain temperature thresholds.

Key takeaways 

  • Delaying carbon emissions has a positive climate impact and encourages industries to adopt greener technologies.
  • CO2 emissions drive global warming by trapping heat and disrupting ecosystems, persisting for centuries once released.
  • Delaying emission reductions complicates achieving climate goals, such as limiting global warming to below 2°C as per the Paris Agreement.
  • The IPCC confirms the irreversible nature of CO2 emissions, impacting climate for centuries even if emissions halt today.
  • Climate models suggest up to 5°C temperature rises with continued high CO2 emissions, risking global health and habitation.
  • Timely emission reductions are critical to stabilizing global temperatures and mitigating severe climate events like heatwaves and sea-level rise.
  • Policymakers can accelerate climate action through investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation.
  • Carbon pricing mechanisms like the EU ETS incentivize industries to reduce carbon footprints, contributing positively to climate goals.

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