Global Carbon Budget 2022
During the Ocean Race, sailing yachts collected carbon dioxide data in cooperation with GEOMAR. Photo: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race
The German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN. Photo: GEOMAR

No sign of a decline in global carbon dioxide emissions

GEOMAR contributes to the Global Carbon Project report again

11.11.2022/Kiel/München. The Global Carbon Project 2022 report released today shows that fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will reach 36.6 billion tonnes worldwide by the end of 2022. With constant emissions, the carbon budget that remains until the limit of 1.5°C global warming defined in the Paris Agreement is reached will be used up in nine years. The report also builds on data that researchers from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel collected around the globe in cooperation with sailing yachts and commercial vessels.

In 2022, fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide will reach 36.6 billion tonnes, slightly higher than before the Corona pandemic. Together with land-use emissions of 3.9 billion tonnes, total emissions will be 40.6 billion tonnes, slightly below the previous highest levels of 2019 (40.9 billion tonnes). This is shown in the new report of the Global Carbon Project published today while world leaders meet at the COP27 global climate conference in Egypt to discuss the climate crisis.

The continued high emissions stand in stark contrast to the decline that would be needed to stay within the limits of global warming laid down in the Paris Agreement. To limit global warming to 1.5°C with a 50 per cent probability, a total of only 380 billion tonnes of CO2 may be emitted. Based on the emission levels of 2022, this amount will already be reached in nine years.

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel contributed data to this year’s report that were collected around the globe by sailing yachts and merchant ships in cooperation with GEOMAR researchers. For example, CO2 measurements conducted during the “Ocean Race” and various IMOCA regattas were included. Since 2005, the Kiel researchers have been supplying data collected on board a merchant ship in the North Atlantic for the Surface Ocean Carbon Dioxide Atlas (SOCAT). Since 2014, these data have also been part of the Global Carbon Project. The measurement facilities on the merchant ship are an official station of the European infrastructure of the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) and are currently run as part of the C-SCOPE project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

“We are proud to contribute to this international landmark report that provides decisionmakers with a scientifically sound basis,” emphasises Dr Toste Tanhua, marine chemist at GEOMAR and co-author of the Global Carbon Budget 2022. “The data collection is only possible thanks to long-standing collaborations. We hope to further expand our methods for measurements in the future and gain more ‘ships of opportunity’ to monitor ocean changes in even more detail. This is crucial for the assessment of impacts of climate change and its function in the climate system.“

The latest report shows that long-term growth in fossil fuel emissions has slowed down. 24 countries with growing economies have actually reduced their fossil CO2 emissions. But this is not enough to meet the limits of the Paris Agreement. To reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, total human-induced CO2 emissions would need to be reduced by an average of 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, comparable to the observed decline in emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – illustrating the scale of action required.

The projected rise in fossil CO2 emissions in 2022 is mainly due to higher oil consumption from the increase of air travel, with clearly noticeable regional differences. For example, emissions in 2022 will decrease by about 0.9 per cent in China and by 0.8 per cent in the European Union compared to 2021. In other regions, however, they will increase: in the United States by 1.5 percent, in India by 6 percent and in the rest of the world by 1.7 percent. This reflects the current geopolitical crises and pandemic situation: the decrease in emissions in China is due to the effects of corona-related lockdowns. In the EU, on the other hand, the decline is mainly explained by cuts in gas supply – emissions are about 10 per cent lower in 2022 than in the previous year. However, this is partly offset by an increase in emissions from coal (by 6.7 per cent) and oil (by 0.9 per cent).

The Global Carbon Budget report also records the fate of human-induced CO2 emissions in natural sinks. For 2022, the scientists estimate that the ocean will absorb 10.5 billion tonnes of CO2, while the land will absorb 12.4 billion tonnes. The remaining half of total emissions will cause atmospheric CO2 concentrations to rise further, to 51 per cent above their pre-industrial levels.

Background: Global Carbon Budget

The Global Carbon Budget report is a joint effort by more than 100 scientists based on data from global measurement networks, satellite data, statistical surveys and model calculations. From Germany, Austria and Switzerland, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute (Bremerhaven), the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich), the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (Hamburg), the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (Jena), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (Warnemünde), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Laxenburg), ETH Zurich and the University of Bern are involved. The Global Carbon Budget 2022 is the 17th edition of the annual report, which is peer-reviewed by independent experts.


Friedlingstein et al. (2022) Global Carbon Budget 2022. Earth System Science Data, doi:

Global Carbon Project Press Release

Global Carbon Budget 2022
Global Carbon Budget 2022
Sailing yacht at sea.
During the Ocean Race, sailing yachts collected carbon dioxide data in cooperation with GEOMAR. Photo: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race
Research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN
The German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN. Photo: GEOMAR