Research supports a new approach to counting CO2 emissions

Jul 16, 2013
Tropical peatland in central Sumatra, Indonesia. Credit: Kim Worm Sorensen

(Phys.org) —Researchers have called for a system of carbon emission assessments that reflect better the true contribution of each emitting nation to the increase in atmospheric CO2 and promote preservation of forests, particularly in tropical regions.

Ecosystems, mainly forest and oceans, remove around 54 per cent of CO2 emitted by deforestation and each year. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 would increase more than twice as fast as observed if it were not for these natural sinks.

Scientists suggest in a pioneering study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change that national could consider the contribution of each emitting region to the increase in and place a value on regional ecosystems or sinks that absorb the CO2.

Co-author and Executive-Director of the Global Carbon Project, CSIRO's Dr Pep Canadell, said that for some time there have been discussions about how to attribute the build-up of atmospheric CO2 between developed countries like Australia, the US and Japan, and developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America. These studies did not consider land and ocean carbon sinks.

Dr Canadell said that research "tracked", through modelling, the origin and fate of CO2 molecules emitted from fossil fuels and deforestation to determine their ultimate contribution to the growth in atmospheric CO2 and to the enhancement of carbon sinks.

"We show that developed countries are responsible for over 80 per cent of atmospheric CO2 from human activities since 1850 but the share attributed to the developing world is rapidly increasing.

"Countries and their CO2 emissions also contribute to the creation of CO2 sinks, however, through and the fertilisation effect of atmospheric CO2 and on plant growth. We find, for instance, that more than half of the emissions from African and Latin American countries since 1850 have been offset by their own land carbon sinks."

The study also reveals that not only nations' own carbon sinks are important but also that emissions from developed countries since 1850 have created additional sinks in equivalent to 13 years worth of their own emissions (at current levels). The maintenance of these carbon-accumulating tropical forests constitutes a massive sink service from tropical developing nations to developed nations.

Dr Canadell said that carbon accounting systems are human inventions to explore different ways to attribute responsibilities for the growth of atmospheric CO2 and the level of intervention necessary for a given climate stabilisation scenario. "The broader questions of who is responsible for what and who owes what to whom are judgments beyond science, though they are informed by the science," he said.

This study shows how a regionalised attribution of land and ocean carbon sinks, in addition to carbon emissions, alters the picture by accounting for the "sink service" provided by regions that are large absorbers of CO2. This approach can inform policy development that leads to the maintenance and enhancement of the 'sink service' between nations.

Dr Canadell said decreasing the risk of dangerous climate change requires a decline in future emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere and ultimately requires the complete decarbonisation of the energy system.

The paper was prepared for the Global Carbon Project, a joint initiative of several international research organisations, to track and analyse the interactions among the carbon cycle, human activities and the climate system.

Explore further: Dead floppy drive: Kenya recycles global e-waste

More information: Ciais P, Gasser T, Paris JD, Caldeira K, Raupach MR, Canadell JG, Patwardhan A, Friedlingstein P, Piao SL, Gitz V. 2013. Attributing the increase in atmospheric CO2 to emitters and absorbers. Nature Climate Change. DOI: doi:10.1038/nclimate1942

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dogbert
1.5 / 5 (25) Jul 16, 2013
"The broader questions of who is responsible for what and who owes what to whom are judgments beyond science, though they are informed by the science," he said.


That is, of course, so that the politicians can redistribute wealth as they want to. Providing credits to developing nations for their plants and water resources allows justification for a larger distribution to them from developed nations.

I really like this one:
The study also reveals that not only nations' own carbon sinks are important but also that emissions from developed countries since 1850 have created additional sinks in tropical regions equivalent to 13 years worth of their own emissions (at current levels). The maintenance of these carbon-accumulating tropical forests constitutes a massive sink service from tropical developing nations to developed nations.


This basically eliminates any limit on transfer of wealth from developed to undeveloped nations.
ThomasQuinn
3.8 / 5 (18) Jul 16, 2013
Dogbert, please go see a psychiatrist about your obsession with wealth redistribution and stop spamming.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (26) Jul 16, 2013
ThomasQuinn,
What I posted refers to the actual situation. It is not spam.

The continual posting to scientific sites this political agenda is spam.
kevin_buckeye_3
3.3 / 5 (19) Jul 16, 2013
Dog is a prime example of a low IQ. He's probably getting paid to post his lies. Notice how he has no proof? Just rants? These people can't even comprehend the scientific method. lol!
dogbert
1.5 / 5 (25) Jul 16, 2013
kevin_buckeye_3,

The proof, of course, is that all discussions about curbing CO2 are rooted in redistributing wealth. This article is about who has to pay.

It is always about redistribution of wealth.
Neinsense99
3.1 / 5 (23) Jul 16, 2013

Climate change deniers using dirty tricks from 'tobacco wars'
http://phys.org/n...ars.html

Science under fire from 'merchants of doubt': US historian
http://phys.org/n...ian.html

Leaks show group's climate efforts
http://phys.org/n...rts.html

Learn more about logical fallacies and real critical thinking here:
http://rationalwi...-science
VendicarE
3.9 / 5 (15) Jul 16, 2013
DogberTard loves to roll in the dung left by other denialist dogs.
JohnGee
3.4 / 5 (17) Jul 16, 2013
Learn more about logical fallacies and real critical thinking here:
http://rationalwi...-science

I'd say Sheepbert knows these all too well. To attain his level of sophistry one must have a strong, conscious command of such fallacies.
thermodynamics
4 / 5 (12) Jul 16, 2013
Dogbert: If there is a global problem of any kind that has to be addressed and it costs money and resources, how do you go about doing it? Are you proposing that the citizens of island nations with dramatically reduced standards of living pay the same as I should? How about African nations? I make more in a day than most of their citizens do in a month and I am not wealthy by any standard.

There is a difference between an arbitrary redistribution of wealth and solving problems by the most efficient means.

Please explain to me how you would go about solving the problem of global warming due to increased CO2 without expecting more resources from those countries that have them. Thank you in advance for your explanation.
dogbert
1.3 / 5 (24) Jul 16, 2013
thermodynamics,

You presume incorrectly that the redistribution of wealth is simply the wealthy nations paying to fix the planet because the poor nations cannot. Certainly, nation to nation redistribution is a part of it, but the transfer does nothing to reduce the CO2 being produced. It simply charges the CO2 producers and sends the money to poor nations. Then there is the redistribution within a country as Australia did with their carbon tax -- used it for social programs in Australia. Again, this redistribution did nothing to reduce CO2 production.

The redistribution of wealth was, is and will continue to be the motivation for all this hype about CO2. The socialists have found a formula which worked to redistribute wealth and they are unwilling to allow facts to get in the way.

Please explain to me how you would go about solving the problem of global warming due to increased CO2


[word limit reached. continued]
dogbert
1.3 / 5 (24) Jul 16, 2013
thermodynamics [continued]

1) What we are doing now is not solving your problem so I fail to see how I am supposed to solve it for you.
2) You presume that climate change is due to CO2.
3) You further presume that climate change is caused by human beings.
4) You further presume that we need to 'fix' this.
5) You further presume that we are able to affect global temperature in a significant way.

I do not agree with all your presumptions. Climate changes and has changed when man did not even exist. I find increasing temperatures far preferable to declining temperatures as we can produce more food with increased temperatures (land at higher latitudes thawing, etc.) and colder temperatures tend to reduce food production.

Our real problem it uncontrolled population -- but no one will address that problem since it does nothing to further the socialist agenda.
Hoama
3.4 / 5 (20) Jul 16, 2013
The continual posting to scientific sites this political agenda is spam.


That's exactly what your are doing dogbert... stop spamming.
dogbert
1.5 / 5 (24) Jul 16, 2013
Hoama,
Why don't you stop? Saying "I don't like what you are saying, go away" is spam.

Pointing out when science is being misused to promote a political agenda is not spam. It is simply noting what is happening.

You seem to want to promote the political agenda. You certainly may. And I will point out that it is a political agenda.
deepsand
2.7 / 5 (19) Jul 20, 2013
Hoama,
Why don't you stop? Saying "I don't like what you are saying, go away" is spam.

Pointing out when science is being misused to promote a political agenda is not spam. It is simply noting what is happening.

You seem to want to promote the political agenda. You certainly may. And I will point out that it is a political agenda.

You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence. One wearies of your constant pecking at one aspect of a subject like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.
dogbert
1.4 / 5 (20) Jul 20, 2013
deepsand,
You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence. One wearies of your constant pecking at one aspect of a subject like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.


The liberal always resorts to personal attack. When unable to support his position, the liberal hides behind innuendo and hatred.
Neinsense99
2.9 / 5 (17) Jul 22, 2013
deepsand,
You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence. One wearies of your constant pecking at one aspect of a subject like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.


The liberal always resorts to personal attack. When unable to support his position, the liberal hides behind innuendo and hatred.

It's a time saving response to zombie talking points from people who are not willing to engage in mature, honest discussion, and resort to projection.
deepsand
2.7 / 5 (14) Jul 26, 2013
deepsand,
You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence. One wearies of your constant pecking at one aspect of a subject like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.


The liberal always resorts to personal attack. When unable to support his position, the liberal hides behind innuendo and hatred.

A prudent person does not waste his efforts on fools errands such as attempting to engage in rational discourse with the likes of you.