Global CO2 emissions back on the rise in 2010: study

Nov 21, 2010

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – the main contributor to global warming – show no sign of abating and may reach record levels in 2010, according to a study led by the University of Exeter (UK).

The study, which also involved the University of East Anglia (UK) and other global institutions, is part of the annual carbon budget update by the Global Carbon Project.

In a paper published today in Nature Geoscience, the authors found that despite the major that hit the world last year, global CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuel in 2009 were only 1.3 per cent below the record 2008 figures. This is less than half the drop predicted a year ago.

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 (e.g. 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."

The poor improvements in carbon intensity were caused by an increased share of fossil-fuel CO2 emissions produced by emerging economies with a relatively high carbon intensity, and an increasing reliance on coal.

The study projects 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.

"For the first time, forest expansion in temperate latitudes has overcompensated deforestation emissions and caused a small net sink of CO2 outside the tropics", says Professor Corinne Le Quéré, from the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey, and author of the study. "We could be seeing the first signs of net CO2 sequestration in the forest sector outside the tropics", she adds.

Explore further: The geography of the global electronic waste burden

More information: Nature Geoscience: http://www.nature.com/ngeo

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User comments : 3

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srikkanth_kn
1 / 5 (2) Nov 22, 2010
Despite +6.2 increase in carbon emissions, India contributes much less in absolute terms. The article however hints misleadingly (willfully or erroneously) on India.
3432682
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 22, 2010
Temperatures are not rising - neither land nor sea. Something is wrong with the theory of global warming/climate change/climate disruption/whatever. I'm shocked that yet another predicted eco-catatrophe is not happening. Chicken Little: phone home.
thermodynamics
3 / 5 (2) Nov 22, 2010
3432682:

Please give us some references other than Fox?News?

1) Show us links that show how temperatures are not rising.

2) Please show us links to technical information on how: "Something is wrong with the theory of global warming/climate change/climate disruption/whatever."

You can say what you would like, but claims like this do deserve some supporting technical information (and Rush or Watt don't usually fill that bill). Maybe good technical information to support your points.

Otherwise someone might think you were a crank just spouting propaganda (but we know you would not be one like that). I actually like arguments as well as new information. What is there to argue about or pick apart technically if you just give us sound-bites such as "chicken little: phone home>" Not very technical from where I stand. Give me something technical to chew on.