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Climate Change: Humans Pumped Out 10 Billion Tonnes of Carbon Emissions in 2010

Posted: December 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Climate Change, Science, Science News, Science of Green | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Climate Change: Humans Pumped Out 10 Billion Tonnes of Carbon Emissions in 2010

Cankler-10-Billion-Tonnes-of-Carbon-EmissionsNew research has found global carbon emissions surged by a record amount in 2010 after falling during the international financial crisis.

The Global Carbon Project published its yearly analysis of carbon dioxide emissions in the journal Nature Climate Change today.

The report found that global carbon dioxide emissions increased by a record 5.9 per cent in 2010. The report says the overall atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in 800,000 years.

At current rates, including the increase in emissions that has been occurring over the last few years and continuing and even accelerating this year, we have about 35 to 40 years to go, before we hit that limit of a total of 1 trillion tonnes

Mike Raupach from the CSIRO helped write this year’s report and says he and other scientists were shocked by the findings.

“This was a very large number, an unexpectedly high increase, much greater than the average increase through the decade of the 2000s which has been about 3 per cent, and it cancels out a downturn in emissions the year before.”

“The reality that we are not succeeding in producing any downturn in global emissions adds to the urgency of undertaking that task,” he said.

Dr Raupach says the world is more than half way to reaching a trillion tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere – a figure regarded as being the threshold for dangerous climate change.

“At current rates, including the increase in emissions that has been occurring over the last few years and continuing and even accelerating this year, we have about 35 to 40 years to go, before we hit that limit of a total of 1 trillion tonnes.” said Dr Raupach “So that gives some idea of the urgency of the task of decreasing emissions if the world wants to stay below 2 degrees [Celsius] of warming from pre industrial times.

The study pestimates that if economic growth proceeds as expected, global fossil fuel emissions will increase by more than 3% in 2010, approaching the high emissions growth rates observed through 2000 to 2008. The study also found that global CO2 emissions from deforestation have decreased by over 25% since 2000 compared to the 1990s, mainly because of reduced CO2 emissions from tropical deforestation.

“Taking action to reverse current trends is urgent,” says Corinne Le Quere, director of Britain’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Le Quere co-authored the report, which was published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Global CO2 emissions since 2000 are tracking the high end of the projections used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which far exceed two degrees warming by 2100,” Le Quere said in a release issued with the report. “Yet governments have pledged to keep warming below two degrees to avoid the most dangerous aspects of climate change, such as widespread water stress and sea level rise, and increases in extreme climatic events.”

The report is based on preliminary estimates of global CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel combustion and cement production for 2010.

It says there was a short-lived drop in global emissions due to the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, but the CO2 emissions quickly climbed in 2010.

The global financial crisis severely affected western economies, leading to large reductions in CO2 emissions. For example, UK emissions were 8.6% lower in 2009 than in 2008. Similar figures apply to USA, Japan, France, Germany, and most other industrialised nations. However, emerging economies had a strong economic performance despite the financial crisis, and recorded substantial increases in CO2 emissions, for example: China +8 per cent, India +6.2 per cent.

Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, lead author of the research, said: “The 2009 drop in CO2 emissions is less than half that anticipated a year ago. This is because the drop in world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was less than anticipated and the carbon intensity of world GDP, which is the amount of CO2 released per unit of GDP, improved by only 0.7 per cent in 2009 – well below its long-term average of 1.7% per year.”

source: nature geoscience
source: the global carbon project
more: www.nature.com/ngeo/

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