Global CO2 levels on track to set new recordCanada
The Montreal Gazette
Global emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide are on track to hit a record in 2010, a leading annual study said today, driven largely by booming economies in China and India and their reliance on coal.
The Global Carbon Project, a consortium of international research bodies, said emissions dipped 1.3 per cent in 2009 from 2008 because of the global financial crisis. But the fall was less than half the decrease estimated a year ago.
"The real surprise was that we were expecting a bigger dip due to the financial crisis in terms of fossil fuel emissions”, said Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project and oneof theco-authorsof the study published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.
The findings come a week before the start of UN climate talks in Mexico aimed at trying to find a way for nations to agree on a tougher pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
But Canadell also said new data and reduced loss of tropical rainforests showed that emissions from deforestation had declined and now comprises about 10 per cent of mankind's greenhouse gas pollution. Previous studies have said 12 to 17 per cent.
Scientists say rising levels of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, from burning fossil fuels and deforestation is heating up the planet.
Canadell said 2009's drop would prove to be a blip.
Emissions from fossil fuels were projected to increase by more than three per cent in 2010 if economic growth stayed on track, he told Reuters from Canberra, Australia. This would mark a return to the high growth rates of 2000-2008, he added.
"The implication of this kind of growth rate is that you're quickly moving into well beyond the two degrees Celsius warming target”, he said, referring to a level beyond which scientists say the world risks "dangerous" climate change.
Voracious demand for coal, oil and gas by China, India and Brazil as well as demand for their goods was helping drive the increase.
"Emerging economies are taking a bigger share of the global production of wealth and they do it with more carbon-intense energy systems”, said Canadell, a senior scientist with Australia's top research body, the CSIRO.
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