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Record Jump in CO2 Brings New Urgency to Global Talks

Record Jump in CO2 Brings New Urgency to Global Talks

Annual global emissions of carbon dioxide — a primary greenhouse gas that causes global warming — jumped by 6 percent in 2010, the largest amount on record, according to a report this month issued by the U.S. Department of Energy. The new levels are worse that the worst-case scenario described by climate scientists just four years ago.

The primary source of the emissions are fossil fuel combustion and cement manufacture. The report states that China accounts for most of the increase. However, the U.S. also has not made progress in cutting emissions. U.S. CO2 emissions are up 4% from 2009 and are at 94% of 2007 levels, which was the highest year ever recorded for American carbon dioxide emissions.

The Underside of Economic Recovery

The increase may serve as an indicator that the global economy is getting back to a growth scenario. Tom Boden, director of the Energy Department’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab noted of the increase, “It’s a big jump. From an emissions standpoint, the global financial crisis seems to be over.” The Guardian quotes the co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, John Reilly: “Broader economic improvements in poor countries has been bringing living improvements to people. Doing it with increasing reliance on coal is imperiling the world.”

Kyoto Signers’ CO2 Declines

Emissions have actually declined from the three dozen developed nations that signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. China and the U.S. did not sign that agreement, which expires next year.

New Round of Talks Begins This Month

The next round of climate talks gets underway November 28 in Durban, South Africa.The European Union has agreed to offer to cut emissions by 30%, up from the 20% promised earlier, if a strong global deal that binds all major emitting countries to a similar goal can be reached.European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said last week that while a final agreement is not expected at Durban, she expects that the COP17 conference will agree to a road map for reaching a comprehensive climate deal by 2015.

 

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Photo: Shanghai factories 12-17-09 Brent Heit via iStockphoto

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129 comments

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5:46AM PST on Dec 10, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:26AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

Bye bye Adam.

7:24AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

We need a government focused on collaboration. It's hard to get collaboration from other countries when our government keeps attacking others. The warmongers within the governments need to be restrained or purged.

4:04AM PST on Dec 11, 2011

It is a very good idea when people with big influence come together - when they have a same goal, for all people, for all animals and nature, and not for egoistic ideas. When is it time for other countries to follow? Is it, when everyone is sick, or already dead?

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

8:58AM PST on Nov 27, 2011

The world needs to work together including the US, you can't tell other countries to do something than not do anything yourself.

12:10PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

the world must work together to save our planet

9:00AM PST on Nov 13, 2011

Care2's rationale for accepting money from the likes of 'bank of america', 'chase bank' etc is flawed. They claim "One of our most important commitments to our members is to not allow deceptive advertising or harmful products on our site." Well, wouldn't you say that banks who foresclose on people's homes illegally, commit international crimes of theft, fund wars and environmental degradation are harmful? This 'neutral' rationalization is convenient and hypocritical to your 'message'. You are saying one thing and doing another. You are talking the talk and not walking the walk. You are greenwashing for corporations who merely want to show themselves as caring while they destroy society on every level. I have enjoyed the community and activism on this site, but the continued advertising of these companies is driving me to leave this site behind.

6:01AM PST on Nov 13, 2011

People dont want nuclear power...so polution will go on and on and on ....

I am not for nuclear power BUT UNLESS WE FIND SOMETHING AS CHEAP AND POLUTION FREE this is what will happen more and more!

5:33AM PST on Nov 13, 2011

I wish people would just agree

4:39AM PST on Nov 13, 2011

We buy most of our stuff from China. Wal-Mart, for example. China is not going to stop polluting. So, we are in effect, supporting pollution. Of course we need to cut emissions at home, but it won't help much if other countries still spew pollution into the atmosphere.

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