Report finds world’s carbon emissions jumped 6 percent
The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday, a sign, leading climate researchers said, of the weakness to date of the world’s efforts to slow man-made global warming.
The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.
The world pumped about 564 million more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, up 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries - China, the United States and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.
“It’s a big jump,” said Tom Boden, director of the Energy Department’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab. “From an emissions standpoint, the global financial crisis seems to be over.”
Mr. Boden said that in 2010 travel increased and manufacturing was back up worldwide, spurring the use of fossil fuels, the chief contributor of man-made climate change.
The world is slowly using more coal and less natural gas when it should be doing just the opposite because of climate change, Mr. Marland said.
In 2007 when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its last large report on global warming, it used different scenarios for carbon dioxide pollution and said the rate of warming would be based on the rate of pollution. Mr. Boden said the latest figures put global emissions higher than the most pessimistic projections from the climate panel. Those forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees.
“Really dismaying,” said Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University. “We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren.”