Climate change gains made during the pandemic undone - report

After a slowdown of global carbon emissions during the pandemic, fossil fuel levels are bouncing back to higher levels than ever before. 

They're forecast to rise 1 percent worldwide - reaching a new record that's likely to soar even further when China lifts its lockdowns.

Empty roads, shops, and streets helped cut global carbon emissions by about 5 percent in 2020, when much of the world was in lockdown.

Co-author of The Global Carbon Budget Robbie Andrew told Newshub it took a global crisis to get global emissions to go down.

But any climate gains made during the pandemic have been undone with emissions now higher than before COVID-19 hit.

"After the global crisis has finished emissions bounced up again."

Bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels last year and climbing even further in 2022. A new report revealed India's emissions have risen 6 percent on last year.

The United States is up 1.5 percent, while China is down almost 1 percent (0.9 percent) due to its ongoing lockdowns. Aotearoa also has lower emissions, though an exact figure wasn't included.

"The fact that the Marsden Point refinery is closed means that emissions will be lower because of that."

The report is being presented at the Unite Nation's climate summit in Egypt. 

"We're always hopeful COPs will deliver and they very often don't."

At COP27, the UN used Frankie the Dinosaur to get its message across.

"This is the time for action, this is the time we need to really move forward."

But the world is at risk of seeing even higher emissions next year. With the conference being warned the global 'dash for gas' - triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine - will undermine the goal of keeping emissions down.

Climate Analytics chief executive Bill Hare said the "gas industry has taken advantage of that and put forward such massive proposals that it threatens the achievement of the 1.5 to three limit".

Climate Change Minister James Shaw is on his way to the summit in Egypt, where he'll be urging world leaders to re-double their climate change efforts to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5C in sight. 

A goal that seems harder than ever to achieve.