Biggest spike ever in global warming gases: US

Large jumps in carbon emissions were visible in China.

Afp November 06, 2011


Harmful carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels made their biggest ever annual jump in 2010, according to the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) latest world data released this week — with Pakistan witnessing a decline from 2009 to 2010.

China led the way with a spike of 212 million metric tonnes of carbon in 2010 over 2009, compared to 59 million metric tonnes more from the United States and 48 million metric tonnes more from India in the same period.

“It’s big,” Tom Boden, director of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre Environmental Sciences Division at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, told AFP in an interview.

“Our data go back to 1751, even before the Industrial Revolution. Never before have we seen a 500-million-metric-tonne carbon increase in a single year,” he said.

The 512 million metric tonne boost amounted to a near six per cent rise between 2009 and 2010, going from 8.6 billion metric tonnes to 9.1 billion.

Large jumps in carbon emissions from burning coal and gas were visible in China, the United States and India, the world’s top three polluters, according to the data which was posted online this week by the Oak Ridge Lab.

Significant spikes were also seen in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, Poland and Kazakhstan.

Some countries, like Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Spain, New Zealand and Pakistan actually showed slight declines from 2009 to 2010, but those nations were uncommon. Much of Europe showed a moderate uptick.

The pollution measurements could indicate economic recovery from the global recession of 2007-2008, according to Boden.

“At least from an energy consumption standpoint, companies were back to manufacturing levels that rivalled pre-2008 levels, people were travelling again so emissions from the transportation sector rivalled those of pre-2008,” he said.

But the data also raised concerns about the health of the environment.

“This is very bad news,” said John Abraham, associate professor at the University of St Thomas School of Engineering in Minnesota.

“These results show that it will be harder to make the tough cuts to emissions if we are to head off a climate crisis.”

The data is derived from UN statistics gathered from every country in the world about fossil fuel energy stockpiles, imports, exports and production, as well as energy data compiled by oil giant British Petroleum. 

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.


George | 11 years ago | Reply

Sooner or later, the need to cut emissions will have to move away from 'incentives not to emit' through price rises to actually culling emitters (cars, boilers, planes etc).

To illustrate, petrol in the UK is $11/gallon, that has doubled in the last few years and still everyone drives.

It is $3.50/gallon in the US. It would need to go up to at least $11/gallon then before there is even a possibility of a change in behaviour, which is required for us to tackle CO2 emissions. That is unlikely to say the least.

The point being, energy is the second most valuable commodity to consumers after food. No matter how much it costs, consumers want freedom to move about, power to run their tvs and phones, and heating in their houses.

Unless politicians grow a little integrity and intelligence, we are going to leave the last of the habitable world to the next 6-10 generations, who will be the last.

CO2 is rising at an underlying exponential rate of 2.2% annually, that is 8-fold per century. At 1000ppm it will directly affect health, which comes around the end of this century. A century and a half later, we all die.

That is, global warming is exacerbated by CO2 rise, but CO2 rise itself is the killer.

Chicken Little | 11 years ago | Reply Chicken Little here. Happy to see so many right wingers denying 'climate change.' The last thing that conservative Americans should do is be prepared for environmental changes. They should simply continue to stick their heads in the sand and ignore ANYTHING that upsets their precious little political worldview. You must maintain your precious bodily fluids along with the awesome authenticity and conservative purity of your political views. Good luck, Luddites.
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