Global carbon emissions reach record 10 billion tons -- threatening 2 degree target

December 4, 2011, University of East Anglia

Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by 49 per cent in the last two decades, according to the latest figures by an international team, including researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia (UEA).

Published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, the new analysis by the Global Carbon Project shows fossil fuel emissions increased by 5.9 per cent in 2010 and by 49 per cent since 1990 – the reference year for the Kyoto protocol.

On average, have risen by 3.1 per cent each year between 2000 and 2010 – three times the rate of increase during the 1990s. They are projected to continue to increase by 3.1 per cent in 2011.

Total emissions - which combine fossil fuel combustion, cement production, deforestation and other land use emissions - reached 10 billion tonnes of carbon1 in 2010 for the first time. Half of the emissions remained in the atmosphere, where CO2 concentration reached 389.6 parts per million. The remaining emissions were taken up by the ocean and land reservoirs, in approximately equal proportions.

Rebounding from the global financial crisis of 2008-09 when emissions temporarily decreased, last year's high growth was caused by both emerging and developed economies. Rich countries continued to outsource part of their emissions to emerging economies through international trade.

Contributions to global emissions growth in 2010 were largest from China, the United States, India, the Russian Federation and the European Union. Emissions from the trade of goods and services produced in emerging economies but consumed in the West increased from 2.5 per cent of the share of rich countries in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2010.

In the UK, fossil fuel CO2 emissions grew 3.8 per cent in 2010 but were 14 per cent below their 1990 levels. However, emissions from the trade of goods and services grew from 5 per cent of the emissions produced locally in 1990 to 46 per cent in 2010 - overcompensating the reductions in local emissions. Emissions in the UK were 20 per cent above their 1990 levels when emissions from trade are taken into account.

"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," said co-author Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor at the University of East Anglia. "Yet governments have pledged to keep warming below two degrees to avoid the most dangerous aspects of such as widespread water stress and sea level rise, and increases in extreme climatic events.

"Taking action to reverse current trends is urgent."

Lead author Dr Glen Peters, of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Norway, said: "Many saw the global financial crisis as an opportunity to move the global economy away from persistent and high emissions growth, but the return to emissions growth in 2010 suggests the opportunity was not exploited."

Co-author Dr Pep Canadell, executive director of the Project, added: "The global financial crisis has helped developed countries meet their production emission commitments as promised in the Kyoto Protocol and Copenhagen Accord, but its impact has been short-lived and pre-existing challenges remain."

Explore further: Global CO2 emissions back on the rise in 2010: study

More information: 'Rapid growth in CO2 emissions after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis', Nature Climate Change, December 4 2011

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32 comments

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Nanobanano
3.2 / 5 (9) Dec 04, 2011
However, emissions from the trade of goods and services grew from 5 per cent of the emissions produced locally in 1990 to 46 per cent in 2010 - overcompensating the reductions in local emissions. Emissions in the UK were 20 per cent above their 1990 levels when emissions from trade are taken into account.


Never quite understood how it can be "cheaper" to make something on the other side of the world and ship it back.

In some cases, we ship cloth to a foreign country so they can cut and sew to make jeans, and then ship it back here.

The cost of transportation is not cheap.

I once calculated the fuel cost of a supertransport ship to be around 7 million dollars per round trip, which is around 150 times more than the wages and salary of the entire crew combined.

This is sick, considering the largest, most modern super transports have engines that are around 50% efficient, bordering on or in some cases exceeding previous theoretical limits...
Nanobanano
3 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2011
Put a star by "50% efficient", because that probably assumes the engine itself, not the efficiency of the whole system, as it's an on-board engine and has to push it's own weight and the weight of all those multiplied tons of fuel...at the end of the day, even the best ICE engine in an on-board propulsion system is pretty bad.

In order to cut back on this insane amount of fuel use and pollution, our cargo ships may need to be converted to nuclear power.

Even if we need to put a squad or a platoon of soldiers on board to prevent pirates or terrorists from stealing the material or technology, it will probably still be cheaper than diesel at some point, and less pollution over all...

Of course, there's wind power, but the problem with wind in modern shipping is each ship only gets to make about half to 1/3rd as many round trips, and crew cost is doubled or tripled per round trip...
Telekinetic
3 / 5 (12) Dec 04, 2011
We're dumber than the dinosaurs, who perished through no fault of their own. We humans, on the other hand, with our sophisticated civilization and technological advancements, will choke ourselves to extinction unless we change direction. If the movement toward alternative energy gets derailed by corporate and/or government corruption, we'll pass the tipping point, if we haven't already.
Nanobanano
2.7 / 5 (10) Dec 04, 2011
Based on the trends in the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Circle in the past few decades, 2C by 2100 is probably a severe under-estimate.

The air temps in the arctic circle in some locations have risen a lot more than that already in the past few decades.

Currently, the water temps in the Southern Ocean are already rising by 0.2C per decade, but the trend is going to be exponential, after all, once you melt all the arctic sea ice and a chunk of Greenland, the Heat of Fusion buffer will be gone, as will a significant chunk of the albedo buffer. Temps will rise that much faster.

Presumably, there will probably be a VEI 6 eruption sometime in the next 90 years, but the last VEI 6 only deflected the Keeling Curve downward by about one or two year's worth of net gains...hardly significant compared to a century...

Looks like we are on the verge of destroying ourselves and saving God the trouble...
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (18) Dec 04, 2011
Every day, the sky keeps falling. Yet we are not running out of sky, no one has been injured by a piece of sky and we can't find a single piece of fallen sky.

Whenever doomsday arrives and the world does not end, the doomsday preachers just move the date and preach louder.
Nanobanano
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 04, 2011
Every day, the sky keeps falling. Yet we are not running out of sky, no one has been injured by a piece of sky and we can't find a single piece of fallen sky.


Actually, people find pieces of the sky all the time. They're called meteoroids.

Whenever doomsday arrives and the world does not end, the doomsday preachers just move the date and preach louder.


Ah, perhaps.

There's quite a bit of difference between false prophets as compared to extrapolation of data and trends. I hope you are intellectually honest enough to see that.

wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1995]

neven1.typepad.com/blog/2011/10/piomas-september-2011-volume-record-lower-still.html

Ya think that exponential downward trend in ice volume for every month of the year might be a TAD worth being concerned about? September 2015, June 2021 meltdowns...
StarGazer2011
1.7 / 5 (11) Dec 04, 2011
So emissions have risen by 49% in the last 20 years, but there has been no statistically significant warming in the last 15?
Even if correlation implied causation (which it doesnt) surely the complete failure of correlation should be causing some people to rethink their position on CAGW? Unless its a religous thing...
Shakescene21
3 / 5 (5) Dec 04, 2011
"Rich countries continued to outsource part of their emissions to emerging economies through international trade."

Consumers who want to buy pollution-intensive imports should have to pay a stiff tariff, to offset the cost advantage that factories in developing countries get from pollution. The pollution from international shipping should also be factored into the tariff.
Doom1974
5 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2011
EU, US, UK found a way to "reduce" their emissions. Let China make goods for them!! Duh. we live in a finite closed system. It doesn't matter who emits. Everybody is affected.
Nanobanano
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 04, 2011
So emissions have risen by 49% in the last 20 years, but there has been no statistically significant warming in the last 15?


Is everyone a damn liar?

Didn't they just report that the 13 HOTTEST years on record all occured within the past 15 years?

It's probably still on the first screen on this sub-section.

neven1.typepad.com/blog/2011/10/piomas-september-2011-volume-record-lower-still.html

There's a statistic for ya.

You know how much extra heat it takes to melt an extra 400km^3 of ice? That's 400 trillion liters of water.
deepsand
4.6 / 5 (10) Dec 04, 2011
You'll have to make allowance for the fact that StarGazer has his telescope turned backwards.
hagger
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2011
telekinetic..there is no tipping point..the earth bio mass produces a 1000 times more carbon than we do..and one volcano in two years produced the entire CO2 production of the whole of human history...the people who put out these reports are paid for by the government,its in their interest to tax you, i do not read the media, i read the sound evidence put forward by those who are not paid by these governments..there are more papers disproving climate change than prove it...use the inter net wisely...and do your own research..its out there..
Nerdyguy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
We're dumber than the dinosaurs, who perished through no fault of their own. We humans, on the other hand, with our sophisticated civilization and technological advancements, will choke ourselves to extinction unless we change direction. If the movement toward alternative energy gets derailed by corporate and/or government corruption, we'll pass the tipping point, if we haven't already.


Extinction, really? Don't you think that might be a little overly dramatic? Perhaps it would be more reasonable to suggest that a lot of us might die and that conditions wouldn't be pleasant for most of the rest?
dogbert
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 05, 2011
Take away their modern conveniences and comforts and what do you have left?


A lot of dead people.
Telekinetic
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2011
We're dumber than the dinosaurs, who perished through no fault of their own. We humans, on the other hand, with our sophisticated civilization and technological advancements, will choke ourselves to extinction unless we change direction. If the movement toward alternative energy gets derailed by corporate and/or government corruption, we'll pass the tipping point, if we haven't already.


Extinction, really? Don't you think that might be a little overly dramatic? Perhaps it would be more reasonable to suggest that a lot of us might die and that conditions wouldn't be pleasant for most of the rest?

Do you have any idea how tenuous our existence is should a nuclear war begin? When you speak of conditions not being pleasant for the survivors in an atmosphere just barely able to support life, how unpleasant should it be for infants and children just beginning their lives. Think for a moment, how short-sighted and selfish a statement like you've made really is.
XQZME
2 / 5 (8) Dec 06, 2011
This NCDC graph shows U.S. temperatures have declined since 1998.
http://www.friend...p?id=453

This graph of NASA AMSR-E data shows arctic sea ice is rapidly increasing.
http://www.ijis.i...tent.htm

The U. OF CO and others report that sea level is dropping.
http://wattsupwit...wntrend/

The strength of correlation of temperature changes to solar intensity from 1895 to 2007 is 0.85; to oceanic oscillations from 1895 to 2007, 0.57; to CO2 from 1897 to 2007, 0.43, but to CO2 from 1987 to 2007, only 0.02. Since peaking in 1998, temperatures have declined while CO2 has increased, conflicting with all climate models.
http://wattsupwit...han-co2/
XQZME
2 / 5 (8) Dec 06, 2011
Several studies show CO2 increases after warming, not before.
http://www.co2sci...tory.php

The IPCC, EPA, NOAA, NASA, DOE, CDIAC, etc. have ascertained the Global Warming Potentials of various atmospheric components. 95% of Global Warming is from water vapor; 5% is from 5 green house gasses (GHG); only 0.28% of GW is from man-made GHG. Only 0.117% of Global Warming is from man-made CO2. Therefore 99.72% of GW is natural.
http://www.geocra...ata.html

IAW the University of Copenhagen research arctic sea ice is twice the extent of 5,000 years ago.
http://www.scienc...1706.htm
deepsand
4.2 / 5 (10) Dec 06, 2011
XQZME = SOCK PUPPET for those in denial.
deepsand
4.6 / 5 (9) Dec 07, 2011
Your "1," dogbert, isn't going to transform a puppet into a critical thinker.
dogbert
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 07, 2011
Your calling someone a SOCK PUPPET because you don't agree with them is not critical thinking nor is it a reasonable argument.

If you don't agree with someone, rather than calling names, why not try paying attention to what was said, and if you disagree, show why you disagree?
deepsand
5 / 5 (8) Dec 07, 2011
Your calling someone a SOCK PUPPET because you don't agree with them

Assumes facts not in evidence.

If you don't agree with someone, rather than calling names,

There is a distinction with a difference between "name calling" and a characterization based on behavioral traits.

... why not try paying attention to what was said, and if you disagree, show why you disagree?

Only within reason. When another engages in sophistry, he forfeits the expectation of substantive rebuttal.

Sufficient time has passed so that those in denial can no longer expect to be treated as simply being ignorant of the facts, but as the intellectually dishonest policy mongers that they are.

dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 07, 2011
So you have no supportable position and must refuse to offer rebuttal because you have no way to support your position. This was apparent from the point where you resorted to name calling instead of arguing. I just wanted you to explicitly refuse to even attempt to support your position.
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Dec 07, 2011
That, dogbert, is itself a display of sophistry.

Your deliberate misrepresentation of my statements is so very sophomoric as to be laughable.

You'll need to find another willing to play your silly games.
dogbert
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 08, 2011
deepsand,

Your deliberate misrepresentation of my statements is so very sophomoric as to be laughable.


How did I misrepresent your statement:
XQZME = SOCK PUPPET for those in denial.


XQZME made some detailed statements in two posts which also contained a total of seven links in support of his statements. Your response?
XQZME = SOCK PUPPET for those in denial.


How can anyone misrepresent name calling with no content whatsoever?
deepsand
5 / 5 (8) Dec 08, 2011
Did you miss the part about being under no obligation to rebut that which has been well and often rebutted?

The puppets continue to mindlessly re-ask that which has been asked and answered countless times.

dogbert
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 09, 2011
deepsand,

I did not miss anything. You have nothing meaningful to say but you enjoy being patronizing and name calling.
deepsand
3.8 / 5 (10) Dec 10, 2011
dogbert said
I did not miss anything.

Which leaves only the case that you chose to ignore it.

dogbert
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 10, 2011
deepsand,

Since you said nothing of substance, I could neither miss it nor ignore it.
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2011
But, I am supposed to rebut that which lacks substance?

:rolleyes:

You are a hypocritical sophist.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2011
deepsand,

Let me try to say this in small words. Perhaps you can understand.

You chided me for voting you a "1" when you made the statement:
XQZME = SOCK PUPPET for those in denial.


The above condescending and patronizing statement constitutes all that you have said about XQZME's comments which contained two statements and seven links.

You keep calling me a hypocritical sophist for pointing out that you attack by calling names and have no arguments whatsoever to support any position.

You have nothing to say and your response to everything seems to be name calling.

You are childish. I'll not continue to waste any time responding to your drivel.
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2011
How clever of you to illustrate the behavior that you deny engaging in by way of your tripe.
gregor1
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 11, 2011
Hey you guys. Cheer up and stop fighting. Apparently the Glaciers in greenland have stopped shrinking
http://www.scienc...8.1.full

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