Emissions rising faster this decade than last

Friday, 26 September, 2008

The latest figures on the global carbon budget to be released in Washington and Paris indicate a four-fold increase in the growth rate of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions since 2000.

“This is a concerning trend in light of global efforts to curb emissions,” said Global Carbon Project (GCP) executive director Dr Pep Canadell, a carbon specialist based at CSIRO in Canberra.

Releasing the 2007 data, Canadell said emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel and land use change almost reached the mark of 10 billion tonnes of carbon in 2007.

Using research findings published last year in peer-reviewed journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature and Science, Canadell said atmospheric carbon dioxide growth has been outstripping the growth of natural carbon dioxide sinks such as forests and oceans.

The results were released simultaneously in Washington by Canadell and in Paris by Dr Michael Raupach, GCP co-chair and a CSIRO scientist.

Raupach said Australia’s position remains unique as a developed country with rapidly growing emissions.

“Since 2000, Australian fossil-fuel emissions have grown by 2% per year. For Australia to achieve a 2020 fossil-fuel emissions target 10% lower than 2000 levels, the target referred to by Professor Garnaut this month, we would require a reduction in emissions from where they are now by 1.5% per year. Every year of continuing growth makes the future reduction requirement even steeper.”

The GCP is a joint international project on the global carbon cycle sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Research (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Program.

The research team included Corinne Le Quéré (University of East Anglia/British Antarctic Survey, UK), Philippe Ciais (Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique, France), Thomas Conway (NOAA, USA), Chris Field (Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA), Skee Houghton (Woods Hole Research Center, USA), Gregg Marland (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, USA), and Canadell and Raupach.


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